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We will read Samuel Butler’s, The Way of All Flesh, an iconoclastic and hilarious novel that George Bernard Shaw described as “one of the summits of human achievement.” The survivor of a notably unhappy childhood, Butler distinguished himself as a student of classics at Cambridge and this semi-autobiographical novel displays the psychological acuity of one who has dealt with his own share of adversity. It is also reflects ancient classical patterns in that it presents the life of Ernest Pontifex as a journey obstructed by latter-day Poseidons and Cyclopes, enlivened by Calypsos and ultimately salvaged by a benevolent Athena. In short, the story of Butler’s young protagonist may seem to recall the world of Homer while anticipating the achievement of James Joyce.
Required Reading: Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh, New York: Modern Library, 1998. ISBN: 0-375-75249-8.
NOTE: This course has 10 classes and will continue on a different day in Session D
A comparatist who obtained her doctorate from the City University of New York in 1984, Professor Corti has taught World Literature, Comparative Drama and Classics in translation at various institutions including Brooklyn College, Queens College, Tulsa University, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Worcester Institute for Senior Education (WISE)Assumption University, 500 Salisbury Street, Worcester MA 01609