English | Intro to Writing and Study of Literature
L141 | 2057 | Peter A. Lindenbaum


TOPIC:  "Civilization and Its Discontents"

We shall read and write on a number of texts that range over a wide
historical period but which all raise, in one way or another, the same
question:  whether man (and/or woman) is better off for being part of
a (supposedly) civilized society.  Texts are likely to include Homer's
ODYSSEY; Anon's SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT; Shakespeare's
OTHELLO; Conrad's HEART OF DARKNESS; Achebe's THINGS FALL APART; and
Burgess's A CLOCKWORK ORANGE in both its novelistic and cinematic
versions.  No in-close cannibalism and no gratuitous violence, just
close reading of a group of perennially interesting texts and a great
deal of concentration on writing clear, structured arguments in answer
to specific questions on the texts.  The guiding spirit, or
father-figure, of the course will be Sigmund Freud, whose
CIVILIZATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS we may also read.  You will be
required to buy, in addition to the assigned literary texts and film
ticket (if I can't get the film in a video version), a grammar book
and a good dictionary (if you don't already have one).  Five 3-to-4
page essays and several in-class writing exercises.  Two lectures
(primarily on the readings) and two discussion sections (on both the
readings and student writing) each week.