Comparative Literature | Major Themes in Literature: Deception
C146 | 1200-1209 | supervisor: Marc Caplan


Topic: Deception
Above section meets COAS A & H requirement and satisfies COAS Cultural
Studies requirement.

1200, MWF 9:05-9:55, WH 104: Charles McKibben
1201, MWF 10:10-11:00, WH 109: Erin Plunkett
1202, MWF 11:15-12:05, KH 212: Diana Dunkelberger
1203, MW 11:15-12:30, KH 312: Heather Haffner
1204, MWF 1:23-2:15, BH 217: Caroline Fache
1205, MW 4:00-5:15, BH 305: Larissa Privalskaia
1206, TR 8:00-9:15, BH 146: Theodore Bouabre
1207, TR 2:30-3:45, BH 244: Marc Caplan
1208, TR 2:30-3:45, BH 319: Sarah Dilworth
1209, TR 2:30-3:45, KH 212: James Rasmussen


Given the current popularity of heist movies, conspiracy theories, and
Internet get-rich-quick schemes, one might think that "the con" is a
particularly contemporary, particularly American theme. In fact, each
of these varieties of deception reflects storytelling traditions
dating back to ancient times; underneath these modern-day phenomena
lurk tricksters, tales of hidden power, and the seductive allure of
magic and transgressive temptations. How have different cultures and
historical eras dealt with the problems of truth and falsehood? How do
con-men and bunko artists undermine the stability of social relations?
Why do we sometimes prefer interesting lies over sedate truths? Why is
the grifter a figure of romance and intrigue? What is the difference
between con-artists and "self-made" individuals? How, finally, does
the act of storytelling itself--convincing an audience to believe
something that never happened--focus our attention on the problem of
deception? This course will explore the depiction of lies and the
lying liars who tell them in a variety of literary genres, ranging
from the Bible and Classical Epic to contemporary writers from around
the world. Course requirements include three essays, two exams (mid-
term and final), short writing assignments, and regular attendance and
participation.