Seniors will now have enrollment privileges in one of the six sections of “Epic,” an English course offered each spring.
The course, which has been offered for at least 60 years, covers six novels, ranging from Homer’s “The Odyssey” to James Joyce’s “Ulysses.” Ruth Yeazell GRD ’71, who will teach the special section, said the English department decided to give seniors priority enrollment to encourage them to take the class, adding that she believes all Yale students should read the novels on the syllabus before graduating.
Course Director Stefanie Markovits ’94 GRD ’01 and Yeazell both said that, of the various introductory courses available through the English department, “Epic” was an obvious choice for seniors.
“Several of us think it’s the most coherent course that doesn’t focus on a single author,” Yeazell said.
Amy Hungerford, director of undergraduate studies in English, said in an email that she expects the section will have “‘last chance at Yale’ appeal” for seniors, adding that Yeazell is a very popular professor whose seminars are often highly over-subscribed.
“There have got to be seniors kicking themselves for missing the Great Books all this time, and we think they will enjoy [Epic] enormously given the chance and the company of peers around the seminar table,” Hungerford said. “Who wouldn’t want to read ‘The Odyssey,’ ‘Middlemarch’ and ‘Ulysses’ when the sturm und drang of a Yale career is about to resolve into honeyed regret?”
Two of three seniors interviewed said they would not be interested in taking the course.
Jessica Dilworth ’11, who majors in literature, said she feels she has already received her “canonical education” in her time at Yale.
A senior majoring in political science who requested to remain anonymous said that many seniors’ schedules are full of courses aimed at fulfilling graduation requirements. This lack of flexibility, he said, would make it difficult to take an introductory course like “Epic.”
Yeazell’s section will be taught on Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m.
Correction: December 16, 2010
An earlier version of this post mistakenly referred to Jessica Dilworth ’11 as Jessica Dillworth.