Detouring the Fascist Carnival
The goal of C Lit 240 is to hone your individual writing skills while also giving you the opportunity to grow as a critical reader. To this end, the course will examine an international selection of texts compiled around the themes of the carnival, the grotesque, and the political, as a point of comparison for texts and as a starting point for composition. The theme of this course is the Fascist Carnival, thus we will begin by reading works dealing with the political structure of carnivals and the grotesque body such as Thomas Mann’s Mario and the Magician and Katherine Dunn’s Geek Love that mirror the rise of Fascism in Europe. We will, then, read works such as Italo Calvino’s Into the War that treat the structure of a Fascist war as a circus. Alongside the primary reading, we will also examine essays by Charles Baudelaire, Georges Bataille, and Mikhail Bakhtin that theorize the grotesque and the carnivalesque.
*There will also be a screening of the 1932 film, Freaks.