"... that power which eternally wills evil and eternally works good:" Evil and the Satanic from Prometheus to Camus

R1B (Section 5) :  English Composition through French Literature in Translation
Spring 2018
Class No: 39643
S. Rogghe


  • Goethe, Faust ISBN-10 019953621X
  • Dostoevsky, The Grand Inquisitor ISBN-10: 0872201937
  • Camus, The Stranger  ISBN-10: 0679720200
  • Course Reader including excerpts from:Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound
  • Nietzsche, Beyond Good & Evil
  • Baudelaire, The Flowers of Evil
  • Hannah Arendt, The Banality of evil
  • + Relevant critical essays

Course Description:

In this course, we will look at different interpretations of “evil,” from the grotesquely Satanic to the mundanely banal. Starting with Greek Antiquity, we will see how man’s “animal nature,” as embodied by the god Dionysus, later becomes demonized, culminating in the image of Luciferian rebellion we find in the 19th century, and eventually turning into banality as we make our way into the 20th century. In our encounter with the satanic, we will also consider it as an essential pole in the human struggle: moral dilemma, good versus evil, true knowledge versus blind obedience – these conflicts make up our human condition, and we will see how these contradictions recur in different forms in the texts we read. Alongside literary texts, we will read theoretical essays that help us think about key topics in these texts, expressing points of view we may argue against, agree with, or take as points of departure for our own, personal struggle with the complexity of good and evil.

Because this is a writing course, student writing will be examined and dissected in group discussions and in smaller peer review groups, as a way to provide constructive feedback and learn from each other’s writing. In addition, we will also address methods for doing critical research, including exercises devoted to library resources and bibliographical information.

Additional Information:

French R1B fulfills the second half of the Reading and Composition Requirement in the College of Letters and Science. Class conducted in ENGLISH.

Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes