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Richard Obenauf,


How do you measure success? 

Money? Power? Fame? Sex? Friendship? Love? Freedom? Happiness?

Although success is universally valued, there is no universal concept of success. In this course we will examine how success and other human values are defined within the works we read, and how they manifest through various characters, themes, and forms. We will focus on how these values both reflect and affect the values not only of the cultures that produced them but also of our own culture. Along the way, you will develop a deeper knowledge of literature, of history, and of yourself.


Our lively reading list will include a Kurt Vonnegut short story, Roman satires, medieval romances, a medieval morality play, Doctor Faustus, an eighteenth-century Oriental tale, a Mozart opera, autobiographies by Benjamin Franklin and Frederick Douglass, and two great American novels from 1925, The Great Gatsby and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. We may also read the selection for the "Lobo Reading Experience."


Consistent attendance and active participation are required. Students are expected to keep a reading journal, which will form the basis for a series of ungraded one-page response papers. There will be two short analytical essays, a longer personal or creative paper, and a group presentation.


Richard Obenauf double majored in English and French at the University of New Mexico. He subsequently earned his MA in English and his PhD in English at Loyola University Chicago. His research centers on the relationship between knowledge and society, with a particular emphasis on censorship and intolerance.