English | Literatures in English 1900 to the Present
E304 | 4384 | Halloran
1:30p-2:20p daily (30) 3cr.
The Modern Bestiary: Animal Symbolism, Allegory and Subjectivity in
Twentieth-Century Literature in English.
Although most frequently associated with earlier periods of world
culture, the animal fable, parable and allegory continue to play a
significant role in modern literature. In this course we will
examine the abundance of animal imagery and symbolism in twentieth
century lyric poetry and discuss the political and cultural
dimensions of contemporary revivals of allegorical prose genres.
Throughout the course, we will consider the implications and
possibilities of creating and employing animal protagonists through
which to consider the nature and limits of the human and the
possibilities of animal sentience. At the same time, we will analyze
how these texts project consciousness onto animals in order to create
a literary space to comment on controversial issues of subjectivity,
otherness, gender equality and the abject.
Among the texts we will read are Joel Chandler Harris’s Uncle Remus:
His Songs and His Sayings, Zora Neale Hurston’s Every Tongue Got to
Confess: Negro Folk-Tales from the Gulf States, Franz Kafka’s The
Metamorphosis, Virginia Woolf’s Flush, George Orwell’s Animal Farm,
Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories and several
short readings of modern translations of Ovid’s Metamorphoses,
Aesop’s Fables, and Perrault’s Fairy Tales which will be available to
students on electronic reserve.