ENG214.001 Topics in World Literature: Ancient to Medieval

War and Heroism

Prof. Eileen Joy

Spring 2010


DUE: Friday, May 7th, by midnight (emailed as a Word document to: eileenajoy@gmail.com)

For your Final Exam, I would like you to write 2-3 pages (typed and double-spaced) in which you ruminate the question: why should anyone read any of the texts we read this semester (the Iliad, Mahabharata, Song of Roland, and Dante's Inferno)? You do not have to address all of these texts, but can just address one or more of them, as you see fit. Do not worry about writing a perfect essay or about having a perfect argument. I'm not interested in that, so much as I would like for you to genuinely engage the question and provide whatever provisional answers you might have. And if you like, you can answer the question in positive or negative terms (i.e., maybe you want to say that we shouldn't read any of these texts, they aren't worth our time, in any situation--but why?--or, that we should have read different texts--but which ones, and why?--etc.). The term ruminate is key here:

ruminate (verb): to revolve, turn over and over in the mind; to meditate deeply upon; to meditate, consider a design with a view to subsequent action; to chew, turn over in the mouth, again; to chew the cud; to muse, to meditate, to ponder.

Whatever you decide to write, and in whatever form or style, the only real requirement is: be creative, be thoughtful, and be interesting. Remember: I actually read these! I'm in it for the fun, although you may not believe it. Hopefully, you are, too.