SCANDINAVIAN R5B, Section 1: Place in Scandinavian Literature

TuTh 8-9:30 , 106 Dwinelle. Instructor: Jenna Coughlin

Units: R

All Reading & Composition courses must be taken for a letter grade in order to fulfill this requirement for the Bachelor’s Degree. This course satisfies the second half or the “B” portion of the Reading and Composition requirement.

Place often becomes invisible in daily life. Not until we encounter a landscape or location that is somehow exceptional—a dramatic mountaintop, a sacred temple, an overwhelming city skyline—do we bring our attention to our surroundings. Whether depicting a remote, inhospitable seascape or the streets of a recently urbanized capital city, Scandinavian authors have used place as setting, symbol, and even character across a variety of genres. In this course, we will be reading texts by several major Scandinavian authors, while paying particular attention to place—the understandings of place apparent in them, the formal techniques used to depict place, and the changes that the Scandinavian relationship to place undergoes over time. We will also read several theorists of place and discuss their applicability to the Scandinavian context.

As a course designed to fulfill the objectives of Reading and Composition R5B, the main purpose of this course is to prepare students to complete an independent research project. As such, we will begin discussions in class which students will learn to pursue more deeply on their own. Along the way, we will practice critical reading, posing research questions, gathering sources, taking useful notes, and formulating original arguments that are supported with evidence, and, ultimately, presenting these results in an organized research essay, composed in a compelling and readable style.


Synnøve Solbakken, Bjørstjerne Bjørnsen (available through Google books)

The Lady from the Sea, Henrik Ibsen (transl. Rolf Fjelde) ISBN: 0451528034

Hunger, Knut Hamsun ISBN: 0141180641

A Summer’s Day, Jon Fosse ISBN: 1840023848

The Ice Palace, Tarjei Vesaas ISBN: 0720613299

Out of Africa, Isak Dinesen (excerpts) ISBN: 0679724753

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the “A” portion of the Reading & Composition requirement or its equivalent. Students may not enroll in nor attend R1B/R5B courses without completing this prerequisite.