NOTE: SOME EVENING FILM SHOWINGS REQUIRED.
This course will problematize and call into question our assumptions about 1) what constitutes a literary classic? 2) how are definitions of beauty culturally bound? 3) what counts as beastly behavior? as we discuss the various roles literature plays in popular culture. The assigned readings will focus on blurring the boundaries that usually render “beauty” and “beastliness” as inherently incompatible qualities. By looking at instances where beautiful people act in beastly ways or texts which glamorize evil, this course will analyze social assumptions about the significance of virtue and vice. We will read a variety of texts from antiquity until the present, which belong to different stylistic literary genres from the epic, to the lyric, short story, drama and novel. This course will look at the interrelationship between visual depictions of beauty and beastliness in painting, photographs, sculpture, film, websites and/or television and strictly textual depictions of outward beauty and the beast within.
Requirements: two 4-5 page papers, a midterm and final essay exam, and final project. Participation in class discussion is a must.