The Absurd Part 1

Ref: C2227546

We, human beings, are programmed to look for meanings in life. However, some writers in the mid-twentieth-century began to question the idea that life had any meaning beyond the patterns we make for ourselves. On this ten week course we shall study two of these so-called absurdist texts: a selection by Franz Kafka and "Waiting for Godot" by Samuel Beckett. A following course in Spring 2021 will study "The Outsider" by Albert Camus and two plays by Harold Pinter. Who were these writers, and what were they trying to do? How relevant are they today? If you'd like to know more, come and join us.

Additional information about this course

No skills or experience needed No course on 29/10/2020

Course aim

'The absurd' is a way of looking at the world. We explore some of the twentieth century texts which enabled that vision, and we assess their continuing relevance to us today.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • You will need your own personal email address so that you’re able to login to the WEA’s digital learning platform: WEA Canvas. You will need to be able to understand how to follow URL links to pages on the internet. If you want to understand more about Canvas please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline
  • You will need to be able to follow links to join our WEA live video learning platform: WEA Zoom. If you’d like to understand more about our video learning platform, Zoom please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline and http://bit.ly/ZoomSpec
  • You are likely to enjoy this course if you enjoy reading and like to discuss what you have read.

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

  • give an account of how and why absurdist texts came into being
  • give an account of how these texts shape our responses to voices, characters and developments
  • explore the likely responses of the original readers of the texts, and account for their success
  • evaluate the relevance of these texts to readers today

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas will be used to provide resources or to support lessons, enable assessment, provide learner feedback and for other activities for individuals away from the course. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline
  • 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
  • You will be expected to carry out a range of activities in your own time
  • Because the texts we are studying are mostly too long to be read in the class, you will be expected to read sections of the texts outside class time.

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
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will sense your progress through mastery of complex texts, achieved mostly through close reading and discussion.

What else do I need to know?

  • What you need: You will need an internet connection, speakers, a microphone and a webcam so that you can use our video learning platform, Zoom. If you’d like to understand more Zoom please visit: http://bit.ly/ZoomSpec
  • You will also need access to the internet outside of your sessions. You could do this using a smart phone, tablet, laptop or a desktop computer (at home or through a library etc.).
  • You will need a personal email address to join the WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas so that you can receive resources, record your progress and achievement and to work with others and share ideas. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline
  • There are two texts for Autumn 2020 - obtainable through a library or bookshop. 1. Franz Kafka: 'Metamorphosis and Other Stories'. Penguin, translated by Michael Hoffman. BE CAREFUL, as Penguin earlier published a different selection under this title. 2. Samuel Beckett: 'Waiting for Godot'.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • You will have access to course resources and links to wider learning through the WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas: http://bit.ly/WEAonline
  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

Download full course information sheet

The Absurd Part 1

Enrolment Conditions

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2020
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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