Spring 2014 - Graduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
THIS COURSE IS AVAILABLE TO DOCTORAL STUDENTS ONLY.
The second half of the nineteenth century produced three theorists whose contributions have proved fundamental to literary and philosophical thought. Sigmund Freud imagined the mind as largely unconscious but nonetheless available for analysis. Karl Marx proposed that the conditions of the material world were historically contingent and philosophically relevant. And Ferdinand de Saussure argued that the meaning of words derived from no central source but depended on operations of use. In this course, we will study the work of these three thinkers to understand their nuances, their magnitude, and their consequences for literary study. In particular, we will witness their implications for reading the fiction of Henry James. James published contemporaneously with Freud, Marx, and Saussure and has been critically assessed through each of their frameworks. At the same time, he was unbound to those frameworks and, as we will discover, proposes some nearly unthinkable alternatives to their approaches to mind, matter, and meaning.
Textbooks will be ordered at the on-campus bookstore and Off-Campus Books.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
An investment in thinking theoretically; careful and diligent reading of all texts; short writings and short presentations; longer researched term paper.