ENGL 363 A: Literature And The Other Arts And Disciplines

FREUD AND THE LITERARY IMAGINATION

Meeting Time: 
MWF 12:30pm - 1:20pm
Location: 
THO 125
SLN: 
21527
Instructor:
Richard Gray
Note: 
w/GERMAN 390 A

Additional Details:

This course examines a set of central themes that emerge from Sigmund Freud’s theories of the dream, the nature of literary creativity, the operation of the human psyche, and the substance of human culture. We will take as our starting point the hypothesis that Freud conceives the psyche as a kind of writing machine, an “author” that produces fictional narratives that share many properties with the prose fictions generated by creative writers. For this reason, our focus throughout the quarter will be restricted to prose narratives. The course will concentrate on literature produced in the wake of Freud’s theories, that is, on texts that consciously or unconsciously develop Freudian ideas. The class is structured around a set of themes that will be developed on the basis of paired readings: 1) The Psyche as Writing Machine, Dreams as Texts; 2) Freud’s Understanding of Literary Creativity; 3) The Oedipus Complex; 4) Eros and Thanatos, the Union of Love and Death; 5) Repression and Social Disorder; 6) The Uncanny and the Literary Fantastic; 7) Freud and Women: Neurosis and Sexuality. In each case we will examine a text or excerpt from Freud’s psychological works in conjunction with the reading of a literary text that exemplifies the issue or issues highlighted in Freud’s theory. Literary works treated include writings by Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann, Arthur Schnitzler, Robert Musil, Ingeborg Bachmann, and others. Course requirements: regular attendance at lecture and discussion sessions; weekly short writing assignments; 2 short interpretive papers. English is the language of instruction and course readings.

 

Book list:

 

Sigmund Freud, The Freud Reader

 

Arthur Schnitzler, Lieutenant Gustl

 

Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis and selected short stories

 

Thomas Mann, Death in Venice

 

Robert Musil, Young Torless

 

Ingeborg Bachmann, The Book of Franza

 

Students who would like more information about the course structure are encouraged to consult the course Web site: http://courses.washington.edu/freudlit

Catalog Description: 
Examines the relationships between literature and other arts: for example, painting, photography, architecture, and music; or between literature and other disciplines, such as sciences (e.g. biology, physics, and math) and social sciences (e.g. sociology, psychology, fashion, and environmental studies).
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Other Requirements Met: 
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
March 16, 2016 - 3:58pm