SCANDINAVIAN R5B, Section 3: Strange Encounters in Nordic Literature

MWF 8-9 , Dwinelle 179. Instructor: Sarah Eriksen

Units: 4

A heathen killed by a revenant rises from the dead to terrorize a medieval Icelandic farmhouse. A Danish seducer stalks his unwitting young prey through the streets of Copenhagen. A Swedish sailor newly arrived in Canton finds himself coaxed into an urban legend. Two elderly rural Finns trek into town to experience an infernal new technology. What does it mean to encounter alterity, how is it expressed in literature, and how do we experience it as readers? This course explores how strange exchanges between peoples, creatures, and worldviews unfold across the page and in the mind. Students will be encouraged to think about the text as a site which generates encounters not just within a storyworld, but also between a storyworld and a reader.

This course will cover Nordic texts of diverse styles and genres from medieval to modern, folding in relevant concepts from literary, cognitive, cultural, and anthropological studies to build a toolbox of reading and analytical strategies. Class discussions and exercises will guide students on improving their style, grammar, argumentation, and editing practices, and students will further hone these skills through writing assignments. Occasional workshops, including a class trip to the library, will introduce standards of composition and research.

All texts and course materials are in English.

Course reader (available at Copy Central)

This course satisfies the second half or the “B” portion of the Reading and Composition requirement.

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.

Due to the high demand for R&C courses we monitor attendance very carefully. Attendance is mandatory the first two weeks of classes, this includes all enrolled and wait listed students. If you do not attend all classes the first two weeks you may be dropped. If you are attempting to add into this class during weeks 1 and 2 and did not attend the first day, you will be expected to attend all class meetings thereafter and, if space permits, you may be enrolled from the wait list.