Legacy of Great Villains in Literature
Legacy - HNRS 1120

Instructor(s): Jonatha Kottler

Course Description

We often look at the heroes of a period to define what is important to that age; what they hope to accomplish and the means by which they accomplish it. Heroes, however, are reactive creatures; a great hero only rises in the face of great villainy. So, what really sets something into motion is the villain--the creature who sees the world as it is and wants to bend it to his own selfish design. Who are these catalysts? What do they want? And to what lengths will they go to achieve it? Finally, if one man’s villain is another man’s hero, what makes a villain bad? What can Thanos, Loki, The Joker, Kylo Ren, Hela, Cersei Lannister, Vizzini and others tell us about their worlds and how the literary construct of villainy relates to modern reality?


Diane Arnson Svarlien (trans.) Medea (this translation only)
Seamus Heaney, (trans.) Beowulf (this translation only)
Shakespeare, Othello (any edition with line numbers)
Robert Louis Stevenson,
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (any edition) Margaret Atwood, The Robber Bride

Jim Starlin, The Infinity Gauntlet


Attendance Participation
Short Writing
Group Project
Essays 2/15 pts. each Creative Project

About the Instructor(s): Jonatha Kottler

Jona (rhymes with "Donna") is a graduate of UNM Honors and began teaching here in 2003. She has a BA in English, an MA in Liberal Arts from St. John's College, and is a candidate in the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She lived abroad in Amsterdam, NL and Edinburgh, Scotland where she published fiction and non-fiction works in NY Magazine, The Guardian, and on Audible. She is a huge nerd who has written seven short films and co-created the comic book series The Wonderverse. She knows a whole lot about Batman, and the MCU.