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C LIT 251 A: Introduction to Comparative Literature: Themes

Themes in Literature: The Passionate Life of Reason

Summer Term: 
B-term
Meeting Time: 
MTWThF 1:10pm - 3:20pm
Location: 
SAV 139
SLN: 
14498
Instructor:
Yasaman Naraghi

Syllabus Description:

Themes in Literature: The Passionate Life of Reason

 

The misunderstanding of passion and reason, as if the latter were an independent entity and not rather a system of relations between various passions and desires; and as if every passion did not possess its quantum of reason.

-Friedrich Nietzsche

 

The tension between passion and reason has been and is, to speak broadly, a prominent theme in literature. Passion and reason have been dichotomized and put in distinct categories as if one either possesses and lives by the rules of reason or by that of passion. In doing so, passion – related to the instinctual, emotional, and sexual aspects of an individual – is suppressed in order to elevate reason – the very human capacity for logical – which has been misguidedly a sign of so called “civilized” societies. This dichotomization, however, over simplifies the complexities of human experience and assumes passion divorced of reason and vice versa. In this class, we will read texts that explore the challenges of mitigating reason and passion in societies and cultures that privilege reason over passion. We will discuss the interplay of reason and passion as well as its implications within political, sexual, and aesthetic (creative) contexts.

 

Required texts:

Death in Venice by Thomas Mann

Dream Story by Arthur Schnitzler

Nightwood by Djuna Barnes

 

*Class does not meet on Fridays*

Additional Details:

The misunderstanding of passion and reason, as if the latter were an independent entity and not rather a system of relations between various passions and desires; and as if every passion did not possess its quantum of reason.

-Friedrich Nietzsche

 

The tension between passion and reason has been and is, to speak broadly, a prominent theme in literature. Passion and reason have been dichotomized and put in distinct categories as if one either possesses and lives by the rules of reason or by that of passion. In doing so, passion – related to the instinctual, emotional, and sexual aspects of an individual – is suppressed in order to elevate reason – the very human capacity for logical – which has been misguidedly a sign of so called “civilized” societies. This dichotomization, however, over simplifies the complexities of human experience and assumes passion divorced of reason and vice versa. In this class, we will read texts that explore the challenges of mitigating reason and passion in societies and cultures that privilege reason over passion. We will discuss the interplay of reason and passion as well as its implications within political, sexual, and aesthetic (creative) contexts.

 

Required texts:

Death in Venice by Thomas Mann

Dream Story by Arthur Schnitzler

Nightwood by Djuna Barnes

Catalog Description: 
Reading and analyzing literature based upon rotating themes such as love, sex, and murder, haunted houses, and dreams and memory. Selections drawn from European, English, and American literature, not limited to period and genre.
Department Requirements Met: 
Pre-req to Declare Literature Major
GE Requirements Met: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Writing (W)
Credits: 
5.0
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
October 17, 2018 - 9:13pm
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