Instructor: Associate Professor Leonard S. Goldberg
Samplings from the vast body of literature in which principal characters, for any number of reasons, descend to the underworld. Sometimes questing and sometimes damned, such figures as Odysseus, Dante, Faustus, and Satan may lose themselves in Hell to find themselves, may try to turn it into a heaven, and may accept it as the logical consequences of the choices they have made. Studying such figures and the works that tell their stories, we will speculate about how various writers coming from a range of cultures define what is to be valued and what to be revived through representations of the underworld and its denizens. Along with such works that deal directly with the archetype of mythic descent, we will read others that treat it figuratively.