This is an archived course. A more recent version may be available at


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session


This course comprises a broad survey of texts, literary and philosophical, which trace the development of the modern world from the seventeenth to the early twentieth century. Intrinsic to this development is the growth of individualism in a world no longer understood to be at the center of the universe. The texts chosen for study exemplify the emergence of a new humanism, at once troubled and dynamic in comparison to the old. The leading theme of this course is thus the question of the difference between the ancient and the modern world. Students who have taken Foundations of Western Culture I will obviously have an advantage in dealing with this question. Classroom discussion approaches this question mainly through consideration of action and characters, voice and form.

Class Format

The class format for Foundations of Western Culture II - a HASS Communication-Intensive subject - is group discussion with informal lectures by the instructor. In addition to the three papers assigned above (ca. 7 pp. each, totaling at least 20 pp., with topics to be discussed in class), every student is required to present a talk in class (ca. 12 min.) on an assigned work on its assigned date. The talk should help stimulate a discussion through arguments and questions. Papers and talks are conceived as exercises in literary interpretation through close analysis; they should be focused on specific passages from the text under consideration. There will be no final exam.


The final grade will be based on the following percentages:

Activities percentages
Papers 75%
Classroom Participation (Including Presentation) 25%

Unexcused absence from class will result in a lowering of the final grade.