HON 211

Metamorphosis and Identity

This course introduces six foundational literary works, organized around the theme of metamorphosis and identity, that have both reflected and shaped Western attitudes and values about ¿self¿ and ¿change." Each work provides insight into anxieties about the construction of human identity in the distinct cultures they represent (Archaic Greece, Ancient Rome, Medieval Italy, Early Modern and Victorian England, and early twentieth-century Germany). Through the metaphor of metamorphosis, students consider what has changed and what has been conserved over the nearly three millennia that separate them. The course raises ¿big¿ questions, including: how is identity constructed in a divine cosmology? What are the boundaries between the human and the bestial? The holy and the mundane? What is the purpose of one¿s life in relation to self, family, community, nation, the divine?

Prerequisites: Admission to the Honors Program.