Eng 385: Apocalyptic Writing


Note: this is the one true syllabus; it is kept up to date and supercedes all hardcopy syllabi.

Dates and topics of class meetings

Texts (with links to online readings; be aware that the Bible Gateway allows you to choose your translation and generally only prints one chapter per page, so you'll have to click ahead).

Report topics

September 3: Apocalypse, Revelation, Eschatology

Text: The Apocalypse of John

September 10: Other Apocalypses

Daniel 9-12; Mark 13; The (First) Apocalypse of James; The Apocalypse of Adam; Thunder Perfect Mind (trans. MacRae or Anne McGuire); The Tiburtine Sibyl [packet]; Baumgartner, "The Jesus Cult" [packet]

September 17: The Antichrist

Adso of Moutier-en-Der, "Letter on the Origin and time of the Anti-Christ"; Hildegard of Bingen, excerpts from Scivias; Play of Antichrist [packet]; McGinn, "Antichrist Established" and Antichrist our contemporary" [all in packet].

Play of Antichrist and medieval drama (Matt W.)

Hildegard of Bingen (Liz P.)

September 24: Hell I

Dante, Inferno I-XVII; Eco, The Name of the Rose, Introduction, Prologue, First Day

Hell before Dante (Erin M.)

Sins and their punishments (Johanna F.)

October 1: Hell II


Dante, Inferno XVIII-XXXIV; Eco, Second day; Bynum, "Somatomorphic Soul and Visio Dei" [packet].


Geography of Hell (Dana M.)

Eco (Timothy T.)

October 8: Purgatory I

Purgatorio I-XII; Eco, Third Day; Joachim of Fiore, Franciscan Spirituals, [packet]

The concept of Purgatory (Serge D.)

Eco (Avi K.)

Stigmatism and other paranormal phenomena (Alisa S.)

October 22: Purgatory II

 Purgatorio XIII-XXXIII; Eco, Fourth Day. NO CLASS MEETING: Umberto Eco at Thomas, 7:30 pm. Please attend this lecture and post reactions to BOTH the lecture AND the readings for the day to the course webforum.

First close reading (medieval image or text) due

October 29: Medieval Mystics and Visionaries

 Hildegard, Letter to Helengerus and Symphonia 11, 12, 20, 23, 27, 35, 36, 45, 49; Julian of Norwich; Eco, Fifth Day; Bernard Gui's advice to inquisitors.

Hildegard's Illuminations or Music (Adrienne M.)

Marian Apocalyptic Apparitions (Greta L.)

November 5: Piers Plowman I

Langland, Piers Plowman , Prologue and Passus I-VII; "The Revelation of Golias the Bisshoppe" and Froissart, "The Peasants' Revolt of 1381" (packet #4); Eco, Sixth Day;

WWW exercise due

Seven Deadly Sins (Meredith Stoll)

November 12: Piers Plowman II

Langland Passus VIII-XVII; "The Heretic"; Bynum, "Material Continutity, Personal Survival..." [packet]; Eco, Sixth Day


Piers Plowman (Miriam A.)

Strange things to do with body parts (Bynum) (Charles C.)

November 19: Piers Plowman III

 Langland Passus XVIII-XXII; "Moralisacio sacerdotis" ; Despres and Kerby- Fulton, "Visualising the Text"(packet#4); Eco, Seventh Day, Last Page and Postscript

Deadline for picking final paper topic.

Piers Plowman (Meredith Shuford)

November 26: William Blake I

 Blake, "All Religions are One", "There is no Natural Religion",Marriage of Heaven and Hell; De Man, "The Rhetoric of Temporality"

Marriage of Heaven and Hell (Diana P.)

De Man (Garrett M.)

December 3: Blake II

Blake, Visions of the Daughters of Albion, America A Prophecy, Europe A Prophecy; Bindman, "The English Apocalypse" [packet].

Second close reading (Langland, Blake or related image) due

Blake's Prophecies (Matt R.)

Blake's Illuminations (Emily F.)

December 10: Blake III and the end of the world as we know it....

W.B. Yeats, "The Second Coming" excerpts from The End of the World as We Know It.; Jean Baudrillard, Derrida, "Of an Apocalyptic Tone..."

Abstract of final paper due.


Theoretical Apocalypses (Derrida, Baudrillard)

Apocalypse When?

Final paper due by Friday December 21 at noon

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