Fall 2023

Readings in the European Tradition I

Listed in: English, as ENGL-123  |  European Studies, as EUST-121


Ingrid L. Nelson (Section 01)


(Offered as ENGL- 123 and EUST-121) Over a thousand years ago, a group of peoples began to form themselves into what we now call “Europe,” a geopolitical space that identifies itself as a shared culture. This course reads classic texts from the European tradition in order to study some of the most influential works of Western culture as well as to interrogate and critique the foundations of an idea of the European tradition. We will put philosophy and literature from antiquity and the Middle Ages in dialogue with selected scholarship on the formation of European culture. Readings include selections from Virgil’s Aeneid, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Augustine’s Confessions, Boethius’ Consolations of PhilosophyThe Romance of the Rose, Dante’s Divine Comedy, William Langland’s Piers Plowman, and more.  

Topics in the past have included readings and discussion of a series of related texts from Homer and Genesis to Dante: Homer’s Iliad, selected Greek tragedies, Virgil’s Aeneid, selections from the Bible and from medieval texts. Three class hours per week. Required of European Studies majors.

Open to European Studies majors and to any student interested in the intellectual and literary development of the West, from antiquity through the Middle Ages.

Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Professor Nelson.

How to handle overenrollment: Priority given to EUST majors and potential majors

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Emphasis on writing.


Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2023, Fall 2024