In INTRODUCTION TO THE MODERN GREAT WORKS, we will examine great works of literature, philosophy, science and art, from the Italian Renaissance to the end of the 20th century, paying particularly close attention to themes that were influential in their own time and remain so in ours. Looking at such writers as Machiavelli, Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Darwin, Dostoevsky, William James, T. S. Eliot, Gandhi and Camus, we will focus on their key ideas, especially when they relate to life’s significance and how best to live. We will also look at the themes in their historical, philosophic and artistic contexts. How do the author’s worldview, themes and style of presentation relate to the spirit of the times? What contrasting worldviews can be detected within each work as well as between the work and others prominent at the same time? How do new eras bring forth new worldviews and styles and how do they break from earlier periods and contrast with those coming after?
Instructor: DR. ARTHUR FEINSOD
MW 3:00 – 4:15
Besides teaching honors courses in the ancient and modern great works, Dr. Arthur Feinsod is a professor of theater, teaching introduction to theater for majors, playwriting, directing, theater history, history of theatrical style, and mask acting. Since his arrival at ISU in 2001, Feinsod has served as Artistic Director of ISU’s Crossroads Repertory Theatre, for which he directs plays with professional theater artists during the summer. For the last six years he has been a member of the ISU University Honors Advisory Board, where he developed, in collaboration with the rest of the Board, a “great works” requirement for ISU honors students. After receiving a B.A. from Harvard (magna cum laude, phi beta kappa), M.A. from UC Berkeley’s “scholar/director” program, and Ph.D. in Performance Studies from New York University, he taught for sixteen years at Trinity College in Connecticut, where he received the Arthur Hughes Award for Achievement in Teaching. Feinsod’s book The Simple Stage, on the simplified stage in the modern American theater, was published by Greenwood Press in the 1990’s and is still in print. Feinsod’s adaptation of William Butler Yeats’ plays and poems about the Celtic hero Cuchulain, Sword Against the Sea, is published and represented by Samuel French, Inc. In 2010, Feinsod was a recipient of ISU’s Caleb Mills Distinguished Teaching Award and, in 2011, was voted by ISU honors students as Faculty Member of the Year.