Summer 2018 Undergraduate English Courses: Theories and Methods

359:210 Introduction to Literary Theory

B6 5/29-7/6  TTH 6:00-9:40 PM CAC 04336 COYLE  SC-115

Love at the End of the World

Is love destructive or generative? When we fall in love do we gain a world or lose one? Are lovers, as it is sometimes said, oblivious to the comings-and-goings of daily life; are they, in other words, in their own worlds, or is rather that they are impossibly subject to this world? Beginning with Plato’s Symposium and ending with Yorgos Lanthimos’s film The Lobster, this course asks how love makes and breaks the world. It invites students to disentangle love’s myths and realities by balancing idealism with feminism and Marxist materialism. Over the course the semester, students will read a range of material––at once theoretical and fictional––to carefully consider love’s relation to political categories like gender, sexuality, race, and class; its connection to past, present, and future modes of socio-economic organization; as well as its ability to radically alter perceptions of self and other.

Theoretical readings may include the writing of Alain Badiou, Roland Barthes, Alexandra Kollontai, Frantz Fanon, and Eva Illouz, with secondary works of fiction by Aldous Huxley and Margaret Cavendish.

Course Requirements:

Class participation (20%); Reading responses (30%); Final paper description (10%); Final paper (40%)