How to Read: the philosophy of Literature

Ref: C3530630

Traditionally literature was regarded as different type of writing to philosophy, however, with the C.20th this distinction began to be questioned. Whilst literature use to belong to art and its study through aesthetics, in the C.20th these two fields began to merge and overlap in previously unexplored ways. Here the logical and epistemic truths philosophy traditionally sought in propositional form made way for existential-ethical truths now being explored and expressed in metaphorical, symbolic, poetic and ironic writing. The aim of this course is to introduce some of the history, ideas and methods present in those two disciplines such as how we might distinguish between literary philosophy e.g., Camus' Myth of Sisyphus and philosophical literature e.g., Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, movements within literature and the philosophical ideas contained within e.g., Modernism, New Criticism, and ultimately the relationship between text and reader.

Course aim

An introduction examining the different ways literature and philosophy overlap and interrelate.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Expain at least one way literature and philosophy interrelate
  • Critically evaluate at least one way literature and philosophy interrelate
  • Use technical vocabulary correctly

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation

Download full course information sheet

How to Read: the philosophy of Literature


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