Ever since antiquity, the notion of underworlds has been an integral part of how humans see and understand their living environment. This course examines concepts and representations of underworlds in literature and the visual arts from the ancient world to the Middle Ages and Renaissance to modernity. Our journey will take us to the realms of the afterlife as well as into the abyss of the human psyche and the shady areas of underground criminal activities. We will explore how the desire to know the beyond has triggered people’s imagination, inspired literary and artistic traditions and influenced new forms of knowledge, moral and intellectual values and social realities. Readings include excerpts from the Bible, Homer’s Odyssey, Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Plato’s Republic, Dante’s Inferno, Milton’s Paradise Lost, Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground, Primo Levi’s Auschwitz memoirs, Don de Lillo’s Underworld and we will watch movies and episodes from TV shows such as Apocalypse Now, The Sopranos and Breaking Bad. We will visit the museum and a music/theater performance. Through reading responses, a creative writing project, an argumentative paper, and an oral presentation you will develop and practice skills of critical thinking as well as persuasive written and oral communication and you will have the opportunity to develop and use your creativity effectively.