Course Description: Perception and Memory
“Throw away the lights, the definitions,
And say of what you see in the dark
That it is this or that it is that,
But do not use the rotted names.
How should you walk in that space and know
Nothing of the madness of space,
Nothing of its jocular procreations?
Throw the lights away. Nothing must stand
Between you and the shapes you take
When the crust of shape has been destroyed.”
-Wallace Stevens, “The Man with the Blue Guitar”
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. For the purpose of coherence, we will focus on a selection of works that question the truth of human perception and memory. More specifically, we will look at works in which individuals structure their reality/realities through recollections and an inward gaze. We will investigate how these constructed realities are unique to the given individual and how they are fluid as prescribed by that individual’s perception and memory. We will also focus on how a memory or a vision is filtered through a process of revision to form a cohesive narrative upon which an individual’s identity and sense of truth hinges.
Dream Story by Arthur Schnitzler
Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Death in Venice by Thomas Mann
Streets of Crocodiles and Other Stories by Bruno Schulz
The Unknown Masterpiece by Honoré de Balzac
(Available at the University Bookstore under C Lit 240D)
Selection of poetry by Wallace Stevens (available on Canvas)