This course explores the words, actions, thoughts, and feelings of the individual amidst the catastrophe of war. This course treats a wide variety of materials from the ancient world to the present, including lyric poetry, novels, memoirs, visual art, and film--but the primary focus is on WWI and the lead-up to WWII. Students explore the ways in which various rhetorical and narrative treatments of soldiers and of war offer us understandings of the subjective experiences and ethical choice of ordinary and extraordinary people under extreme stress and facing horrendous challenges. The course also intends to consider notions of the individual, the community, and civilization (with all that word implies) against the backdrop of the chaotic action of war and combat. Affiliate department: Humanities.