When Winston Churchill referred to the light of history as a “flickering lamp” to illuminate the Present, he was by parts questioning and parts affirming the value of studying our past. The Modern period is particularly challenging for people of faith because it is a period of considerable secularization in the West. Yet this very difficulty is also what makes it essential deep analysis for understanding the current age, so we might march in the “rectitude and sincerity” that Churchill went on to extol as traits of honor that transcend period and place. This course is an honors-level analysis of the Modern period’s essential events studied alongside its essential writings. Spanning the mid-1600’s to the Present, this course considers the impact of interrelated revolutions in religion, politics, science and literature. While the course focuses predominately on the western world, it also considers the clashes and changes as cultures began to interact on a global level. All of these are reflected in the literary works of each period. Frankenstein illuminates not just the scientific questions of its day but, more importantly, the deep, abiding role of man in relationship to his God. Written in the shadows of war, T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland and C.S. Lewis’ radio addresses, which later became Mere Christianity, respond to the horrors of those wars by pleading Christianity as the only solution to a world torn asunder. A Gentleman in Moscow explores the question of how to find purpose in worldviews dominated by deterministic Naturalism or “absurd” Existentialism. These “revolutions” were also reflected in the new mediums that emerged from them, including films like Casablanca, television shows, hero comics, and the meteoric rise of “popular” music. These and other reflective and influential works are used to bring out the real “history” of the events. The great works and historical analysis are also used as the foundation for teaching advanced composition skills, and the course culminates in a research opportunity integrating a student’s understanding of a key historical event with thoughtful analysis of a complementary literary work.
Modern History, Lit, and Comp (Honors)
Notes and Requirements
Transcript Planning: On a transcript, this integrated course lists as two Honors courses — an English course credit and a History course credit.