Literature

Ancient Literature (9th grade)

The cornerstone of a classical education is built on the foundation of Christianity and the great epic tales, plays, and myths of ancient Greece and Rome. Typically, the heroes of these works are noble characters who have to surmount great difficulties to achieve their goal. Achieving this goal can sometimes involve the sacrificing of the heroʹs life, as in the case of Antigone. This course will focus on the epic tales The Odyssey, The Iliad, The Aeneid; the plays Julius Caesar, Oedipus Rex, Antigone; and Platoʹs Republic. Myths
will be explored in Bulfinchʹs Mythology. Students will be taught how to outline these works using a modified version of the Cornell system of note‐taking. Students will also be required to complete one major project per quarter on an ancient Classical theme of their own choosing. As with any Literature course, students will be required to complete varied writing assignments connected with course material. The aim of this course is to give students a broad survey of the literature of the ancient classical world so that they can appreciate how that literature influenced and informed classically educated writers and artists who made great contributions to Christianity and Western Civilization. Medieval & Renaissance

Literature (10th grade)

This course will focus on the some of the greatest poets and writers of the Early Middle Ages to Late Middle Ages, Humanism, early and late Renaissance. Students will explore Poetic Schools such as the Sicilian and Tuscan School and their Philosophies as well as individual poets like Dante Alighieri, Francesco Petrarch, and Jeffrey Chaucer; writers such as Giovanni Boccaccio philosopher and playwright Niccolo’ Machiavelli as well as theologians like St. Augustine of Hippo. They will examine their major works and discuss them in the context of the periods, histories, philosophical thoughts and currents of their times. This course will encourages students to examine and discuss, using the Socratic method, new and complex ideas, which will be critically discussed in class and express in HW assignments, quizzes, essays and tests (midterm & final)as well as semester projects. Reading and class participation is key.

Texts include: Dante Alighieri‐ Inferno; Geoffrey Chaucer – The Canterbury Tales; Niccolo’ Machiavelli – The Mandrake; Giovanni Boccaccio – Decameron.

British Literature (11th grade)

Juniors will focus on the contributions of British Literature to Western Civilization. English literature is
a unique hybrid of Norman French, Anglo‐Saxon, and Celtic influences that reflect the history of the
peoples of Great Britain. Some examples of the main works that will be covered are The Importance of
Being Earnest, The Screwtape Letters, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Gulliverʹs Travels, Frankenstein, Great
Expectations, and Hamlet. Students will be taught how to outline these works using a modified version
of the Cornell system of note‐taking. Students will also be required to complete one major project per
marking period connected to a British Literature theme. As with any literature course, students will be
required to complete varied writing assignments connected to the course material. The overall aim of
this course is to give students a broad survey of British writing and an appreciation of the contributions
of British writers to the continued development of Western Civilization.

Modern Literature and AP Literature and Composition (12th grade)

Students read, analyze, and discuss literature from the time period 1870‐1970. During the first semester
students read plays, novels, and short stories. In the second semester, students read many of the better
known modern poets such as Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, T.S. Eliot, Emily Dickinson, Langston
Hughes, Dylan Thomas, and W.B. Yeats. We’ll read The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald; The
Metamorphosis and Other Stories, by Franz Kafka; Everything That Rises Must Converge, by Flannery
O’Connor; The Underdogs, by Mariano Azuela; The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James; Invisible Man, by
Ralph Ellison; A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, by James Joyce; Maus I and II, by Art Spiegelman; A
Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams; “Sonny’s Blues,” by James Baldwin; and “A Rose For
Emily,” by William Faulkner. Students taking the AP course will learn additional literary terms and
grammar concepts, and will be assigned short essays or paragraphs in which students must closely
examine texts and the use of literary techniques in the text.

Honors Seminar (9th – 12th grades)

This course is designed to allow the Honors student to engage in the kind of critical thinking and widereaching
discussions which are not possible under the usual constraints of other courses. Students will
read books which lend themselves to the examination of great themes which are emblematic of a
Montfort education. Our discussions will not be limited by a literary perspective but will look at these
themes in an inter‐disciplinary kind of way. So when you read a book for this class, you should be
considering not only its literary elements but also bringing to bear ideas you have learned in your other
classes such as art, history, theology and so on. This kind of study will require slow and careful reading,
and as a result, we will aim to cover only one book per semester. For the fall semester, we will be
reading Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited.