ENGL 090A. Minor Characters and Ordinary People: New Methods in History and Literature
(Cross-listed as HIST 090A )
Novels, social media, close friends, and parents help us feel like main characters in our own lives, but most of us will remain minor, relatively unimportant characters in any larger context. This course will explore the problem of the minor character and the ordinary person from the conflicting and complementary perspectives of the historians and the literary critic, using both traditional and computational methods. Are there formal analytic strategies for interpreting and examining minor characters and ordinary individuals that do not insist on moving them from the margins to the center? Or are all minor characters simply understudy protagonists and consequential people waiting for their time in the spotlight? We will trace this problem through major works of history and literature and through their transformation and interpretation using qualitative and quantitative methods. Students will create an original essay, art project or other work on a minor character or about the idea of minor character as part of the course's final publication project.
Fall 2019. Buurma. Burke.
Catalog chapter: English Literature
Department website: https://www.swarthmore.edu/english-literature
Check the Fall 2018 Schedule of Courses
Check the Spring 2019 Schedule of Courses