LARTS 357 — War and Literature
This course explores the history of warfare, collective violence, religious and military strategies for conducting war, and efforts to wage humane wars. After an introduction to warfare in the ancient world, we will consider “just war” theories and changing representations of war up to the 21st century in essays, films, letters, memoirs, novels, plays, and poetry. The course is chronological and thematic, dealing with a variety of issues: What are the lures of war? How have other cultures thought about war? What drives a soldier? Can war be controlled or eliminated? What strategies have been brought to the table to answer these questions? Using an interdisciplinary approach, we will investigate these and other issues through the works of writers from differing historical eras, regions of the world, and cultural perspectives. There will be, as well, an ongoing discussion of what constitutes a canon of texts in such an area of study: why do these texts matter? Texts include The Iliad, The Art of War, and more contemporary literature.
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