ENGL379T - Special Topics in Literature: Folklore, Themes, and Archetypes in Literature

This course is an intense look at the idea of Folklore and its role as progenitor and continuing stimulus to Literature. For background,we shall review the principles of such topics as myth, legend, modern urban myths, folktale, folksong, joke cycles, proverbs, placenames, themes and archetypes in lit, ethnography, etiology, eschatology, and lots of homage to Sir James George Frazer and the Brothers Grimm.  Literary texts suffused with folklore that may be included are medieval drama, The "Gesta Romanorium," "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," plays such as "Macbeth" and Ben Jonson's "Bartholomew Fair," Chaucer, T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land," a few short stories by William Faulkner, some novels by Alan Garner, Marina Carter, Zora Neale Hurston, and Thomas Hardy, and some Irish plays by Brian Friel, Colin MacPherson, or Yeats.   Required: forty pages of papers (including a literary study of 10 pages; and a ethnographic interview about the beliefs of a recent immigrant to America), three exams, and (perhaps) attendance at a play in D.C.

Repeatable to 9 credits if content differs.


Two lower-level English courses, at least one in literature; or permission of ARHU-English department.