Course Description

Course Name

Special Topics: the Literature of War - Europe and WWI

Session: VRMS3121

Hours & Credits

3 Credits

Prerequisites & Language Level

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.


From the Iliad to Beowulf to Saving Private Ryan, war is a constant of human experience and as such a major topic in all forms of cultural and artistic expression. This course will examine the various literary responses to war and the ways in which artists and writers have negotiated power, violence, and resistance within the context of military conflict.

Although there has been a recent resurgence in interest in World War II, it may be argued that the First World War has had more far-reaching historical significance. This conflict, the first general European land war in a century, was of an unprecedented scale. In this course, we will examine the literary response to what was called at the time "The Great War" and investigate its impact the rest of the twentieth century. We will look at historical accounts, novels and poetry, psychiatric literature, war memoirs, documentary footage, war and anti-war films. Our aim in this course is to immerse ourselves in what Fitzgerald called the "terrible twilight of an old world, and the noisy dawn of our times."

*Course content subject to change