SCANDINAVIAN R5A, Section 3: The Forest and its Manifestations in Literature & Media

TuTh 8-9:30 , 255 Dwinelle. Instructor: Tiffany White

Units: 4

This course satisfies the first half or the “A” portion of the Reading and Composition requirement.

We are more familiar with the literary forest than we think we are. Little Red Riding Hood, Robin Hood, and Snow White have all shown us that the forest can represent a place of refuge, but also a place of fear, where unexplainable things happen. It is the place in which wolves, outlaws, dwarves, and magical creatures live. But—why? This course will explore the literary significance of the forest in both space and time.

The central focus of this course will be to evaluate the forest as a space: what it represents and why. This image dictates what creatures inhabit the forest, often liminal figures with special abilities or appearances. With the growing importance of eco-awareness, it will be beneficial to challenge our ideas of the forest as a place that needs to be tamed by humans, a place of danger, and a place outside of culture; we will do so by evaluating images in literature and media that have become standard representations of the forest. We will start in the early Christian period, go into the Middle Ages, through the Early Modern and Romantic periods, and end with modern media in the form of movies and music videos.

Texts: Course reader

Prerequisite:  Successful completion of the UC Entry Level Writing Requirement or its equivalent.  Students may not enroll in nor attend R1B/R5B courses without completing this prerequisite.