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Saturday, October 23, 2010

High School Online Course: The Scarlet Letter

Update: This live course has concluded and is available now as a recorded course through our Unlimited Access! Service. This is a great way to learn at your own pace when your schedule allows. To subscribe or learn more: Catholic Homeschooling

My 16-year-old daughter absolutely loved this book. I myself couldn't help but be deeply moved by Hawthorne's character Hester Prynne and her story of sin & redemption.

As with his previous courses, we can all rest assured that Dr. Russell will bring new understanding and take the story to a new level for us. I am really looking forward to this class!

Literature: The Scarlet Letter (American Classics Series) with Henry Russell, Ph.D.
(click on title to register)

Class dates: Tuesdays , January 11 to March 1, 2011 )No class on February 22, 2011)
Total classes: 7
Starting time: 10:00 am, Eastern Standard Time (9:00 am, Central)
Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes
Professor: Henry Russell, Ph.D.
Fee: This course is regularly $140 for all 7 classes. There is an Early Enrollment Discount of $20 if you register before November 1, 2010.
Suggested grade level: 10th, 11th , 12th or college
Prerequisite: Ability to enjoy reading the works.
High school credit: 1/2 semester credit.

Course description: Two main streams of thought shape the great American novels: one is the fervor of Christianity, the other is the skeptical Deism popularized in the 18th century. In English Romanticism that deism becomes transformed into a confused doctrine of the poet as priest and prophet. Ralph Waldo Emerson transported this doctrine in a form wildly popular for Americans. Although Nathaniel Hawthorne found the idea congenial at first, he became a devastating critic of it in his portrait of Hester Prynne (America’s first anti-heroine). This novel is not a condemnation of Puritan intolerance, but rather of the destructive and bigoted God-playing of Hester and her countless American imitators.

Our readings in Emerson will provide a brief but clear introduction to the ideas behind Deism and Romanticism. Then Hawthorne’s novel will provide a tightly constructed, claustrophobic response that operates like a Greek tragedy illumined mainly by the comic ending of Pearl’s destiny.

Course outline:
Class 1: Emerson and Romanticism: “Nature” and “The American Scholar”
Class 2: Emerson, Pantheism, and Transcendentalism: “The Harvard Divinity School Address”
Class 3: Nathaniel Hawthorne Responds: The Scarlet Letter “The Custom House”
Class 4: Nathaniel Hawthorne" The Scarlet Letter Chapters 1-6
Class 5: Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Scarlet Letter Chapters 7-12
Class 6: Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Scarlet Letter Chapters 13-18
Class 7: Nathaniel Hawthorne" The Scarlet Letter Chapters 19-24

Course materials: Dr. Russell will be using the Riverside Edition of The Scarlet Letter (isbn 0395051428). It is available used quite inexpensively.

Homework: Dr. Russell will provide quizzes, essay topics, and a midterm and final exam to be graded by the parent.

Instructor's biography:
Dr. Henry Russell is Headmaster of the St. Augustine’s Homeschool Enrichment Program founded with his wife Crystal. The program began in Fall 2005 with 20 students in two living rooms and now tutors more than 70 students. He is also the President of the SS Peter and Paul Educational Foundation, dedicated to founding an orthodox Catholic Liberal Arts college in southeast Michigan.

A graduate of Princeton and South Caroline (M.S.), Dr. Russell completed his graduate work at Louisiana State University. Formerly the Chairman of Ave Maria College’s Department of Literature, he has also been a professor at Franciscan University of Steubenville and Wake Forest University. He is a founding faculty member of the St. Robert Southwell Creative Writing Workshop held in Mahwah, New Jersey.

Dr. Russell’s works include The Catholic Shakespeare Audio Series. He was the Associate Editor of The Formalist from 1990-2004 and his writings have been published in various journals. He was honored to edit Dr. Alice von Hildebrand’s groundbreaking volume, The Privilege of Being a Woman.

Equipment requirements:
Students are required to have high-speed internet and a headset with microphone.

Dr. Russell will be available via email in between classes for questions and comments.
Recordings of classes are provided to students within 24 hours and available for 6 months.
Homeschool Connections does not provide record keeping services.

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