LLRO 13186-1: America: The View from Europe

Instructor: Charles Leavitt

Literature University Seminar

In this seminar you will investigate how Europeans have seen, understood, and portrayed America from the fifteenth-century voyages of discovery until the present day. Engaging with a diverse array of perspectives and authors-Columbus, Verrazzano, and Vespucci; Arendt, Brecht, and Marx; Calvino, Gramsci, and Pavese; de Tocqueville, de Beauvoir, and Sartre; Forster, Trollope, and Woolf-you will reflect on the enduring myths of America that continue to shape our understanding of the New World. Conducting an investigation across a wide variety of texts and genres-letters and travelogues; essays and novels; films and popular songs-you will explore the formation of American identities from without but also from within. Confronting the big questions and the major controversies-about democracy, diversity, equality, liberty, and prosperity-you will evaluate how others understand America, and how Americans understand themselves.

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