Fall 2012

Imagining the Past


Ingrid L. Nelson (Section 01)


How do we imagine the past, and how does that imagining inform our understanding of the present?  What can we learn by studying literature and art that takes the (historical or personal) past as its topic? This course examines the intersections between the historical past (especially the medieval past) and modes of imaginative representation, especially the literary text. We will read literature by Shakespeare, Chaucer, and others; visit the Mead Art Museum on campus; and examine the “Prince Valiant” archives in Frost Library to think about how literature, art, and history interact with each other. The course will conclude with a conference in which students present creative projects that demonstrate how they imagine their own past, whether cultural, personal, or familial.

This discussion-based course will provide students with an introduction to college-level study of literature, art, and archival materials.  A progressive set of writing assignments will focus on both analysis and gaining familiarity with the conventions of academic writing.  The final project offers an opportunity for a personal reflection on the course content.

Limited to 15 students.  Fall semester.  Professor Nelson.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012