Summer II: July 5 - August 9, 2019
The object of this course is to analyze representations of adultery, cheating, and "perverted" or non-normative sexualities in literature and film. We will study how sex and sexual desire is represented, and think critically about the narrative conventions used for describing taboo desires and behaviors, and the social values that inform them. The themes of desire, transgression, suspicion and discovery lie at the heart of many classic narratives in drama, literature and film, from antiquity to the present. Is there anything special, we will ask, about representing sex, especially "wrong" kinds of sex? What might these stories teach us about the way we read in general? Along the way, the course will also provide an introduction to the study of sexuality and queer studies, as well as training in critical reading and cultural analysis. By supplementing classic literary accounts by authors such as Shakespeare, Pushkin, Flaubert, Chekhov, Bataille, de Sade, Proust with films by such figures as Fellini and Pasolini, we will analyze the possibilities and limitations of the different genres and forms under discussion, including novels, films, short stories, and drama. What can these forms show us (or not show us) about desire, gender, family and social obligation? We will apply a range of critical approaches to place these narratives of "bad" or "kinky" or "sinful" sexuality in a social and literary context, including formal analyses of narrative and style, feminist criticism, Marxist and sociological analyses of the family, and psychoanalytic understandings of desire and family life.
Fulfills Arts and Letters Sector.