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Lecture: Neo-Classicism in Early Modern Europe (Sidney, Dryden, and Pope)

April 16 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

This class is part of a course titled "LITERARY THEORY IN ANTIQUITY AND EARLY MODERN EUROPE"
It's taught by Dr. Bryan Berry, PhD.

• Class introduction: Early modern European culture is marked by a return to the Greeks, which is reflected in a neoclassical strain in its literature. In the face of arguments that poetry is deceitful and leads to sin, Sidney’s “Apology for Poetry” adds a Christian approach to the previous defenses of poetry, and suggests that it is of divine origin. Dryden and Pope provide accounts of their own neoclassical approach to literature, as well as the role of the critic in the composition and reception of literature.

• Course introduction: The purpose of Literary Theory in Antiquity and Early Modern Europe is to prime the question, “Why does literature matter?” This sequence will focus on how some of the major thinkers in the western tradition approach literature, and how it helps us think about human action (i.e. the relationship between aesthetics and ethics). How does literature relate to the true, the beautiful, and the good? Does it help or hinder human life on a personal and societal level? Each lecture topic stands alone, but is also in dialogue with the previous lectures.

• About Brian. Growing up in a small town in the Pacific Northwest, Brian first gained interest in the humanities through an involvement with theater in his youth. The sense of community cultivated during a theatrical production served to counterbalance a proclivity toward solitary philosophical reflection. He went to pursue a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Chicago, with a dissertation on Samuel Beckett and the philosopher Stanley Cavell.

• Class syllabus:

• Guidelines for Participation:


April 16
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


ENSO Winery
1416 Southeast Stark Street
Portland, US
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