ENGL 1550: "Literature and Business: Money Talks"

Kay Khosbayar – October 4th, 2017

Spring 2018
MW 2-3:15 Wilson Hall 325
Professor Chip Tucker

A reading-centered course for first- and second-year students who would never major in English but still want to give literature the old college try. We’ll be tracing the literary fortunes of money in works centrally concerned with the business of making it: how much money can mean, and how little; monetary value vs. other values; the costs of a business career, and its benefits; money and language as parallel systems of symbolic exchange. Readings in drama from Shakespeare to David Mamet, and fiction from Dickens to Sinclair Lewis, with a poem here and there for good measure. We’ll end with novels about advertising and corporations, after spending the middle of the term with a Victorian blockbuster about financial meltdown whose title—The Way We Live Now—declares what, at the bottom line, this course will be all about. A specially equipped classroom will let us mingle professor’s lectures with small-group interaction and students’ oral presentations. In lieu of a final exam, students will maintain a portfolio that tracks their reading and learning across the semester.

The English Department’s “Literature and the Professions” designation represents a new kind of course, conceived with an emphasis on reading rather than writing, and to foster guided, intelligent discussion of literary representations of the lives that are shaped by frequently chosen careers in business, medicine and law, as well as the values that inform them.