Comparative Literature | Contem Theor Iss and Approaches
C602 | 16499 | C. Delourme

4 cr
Meets T 1:00 - 3:30 pm

Entrapped "between the acts" of two world wars, the first half of
the 20th century obsessively questioned the dead ends of history,
explored ways through which time might be wrestled from its
teleological patterns and possibly renewed of a sense of community.

In a similar manner, and as part of the long-term aftereffects of
the Second World War, contemporary European philosophers have tried
to identify the political forms breeding those dead ends as well as
the discursive modes that construct and legitimize them.

The course intends to explore the correspondences and differences in
the way these issues are approached in twentieth-century writing and
contemporary thought.

Thus we shall concentrate on the echoes between modernist writing as
exemplified by Virginia Woolf's Three Guineas and Between the Acts
and Sigmund Freud's Beyond the Pleasure Principle and Civilization
and its Discontents. The questioning of the sense of community both
in her fiction and in Arundhati Roy's novel The God of Small Things
will then be read through a dialogue with Jean-Luc Nancy's
Inoperative Community, Jacques Ranciere's Disagreement and Giorgio
Agamben's thought. Likewise, we plan to read W.G. Sebald's
Austerlitz in the light of contemporary approaches of the notion of
testimony by Giorgio Agamben, Jean-Francois Lyotard or Jacques

Virginia Woolf, Three Guineas
Virginia Woolf, Between the Acts
Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
W.G. Sebald, Austerlitz

Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents
Sigmund Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle
Jacques Ranciere, Disagreement: Politics and Philosophy
Jean Luc Nancy, Inoperative Community
Giorgio Agamben, Remnants of Auschwitz: The Witness and the Archive
Jacques Derrida, The Politics of Friendship