Literary Cultures

Literary Cultures

How to Lead a Good Life: Ancient and Modern Answers
Course Number: 
20C
Course Catalog Number: 
30052
Course Type or Level: 
Instructor: 
Timothy Hampton, Victoria Kahn
Days: 
MWF
Time: 
1-2 PM
Semester: 
Location: 
2 Physics

From antiquity to the present, great art has addressed the question of how to lead a good life, as well as addressing those obstacles—fate, the gods, our own divided psyches--that have made it difficult for us to do so. They have also presented conflicting notions of what the good life is, and what its relationship is to happiness and happenstance. In this course, we will explore a range of ancient and modern takes on these questions, from Homer, Confucius, and Plato to Shakespeare and Montaigne to Harriet Jacobs and Kazuo Ishiguro. We will also spend some time with Mozart and Matisse, Rembrandt and Jacob Lawrence, Shostakovich and Louis Armstrong.