16 August 2010
SOMETHING LEFT TO CHANCE: to burn in hell or not?
This year, the sticking point is Dante's Inferno. I know there is no time to read the entire Divine Comedy, but the last time I read the Inferno with my Honors Senior World Lit class, they loved it--and we referenced it throughout the year. And, let's face it, Hell is defined by Dante, and in a parochial school, we like our discussions of the ultimate evil. But I have devoted myself to including more modern and contemporary works in my World Lit syllabus--I don't have too many restrictions as to what I teach, and students always seems to think that modern is good (though there are some who have informed me that modern means "written in my lifetime" and then they want to watch a movie from the 80s, and I've got them!) So, I believe that the Inferno is one of those "things we all oughta know, " but at the expense of something more "modern," say--Saramago's Blindness or Gaiman's American Gods? I think I will fall back on the best counselors I have--my students. I will leave room in the syllabus, and learn my students' personalities and interests. Some choices will have to wait for my class.