Writing About Literature

From the beginning we are already in the hands of the other, a thrilling and terrifying way to begin.

—Judith Butler

“Read for love,” Seulghee Lee suggests. And we will follow his suggestion. This course is designed around analyzing intimate bonds and the permutations of heartbreak. How is love characterized on the fictional page and screen? And what might the lover’s break-up and his/her spinning into narcissistic despair teach us about the self and how we love? Through the analysis of novels, short stories, poetry, music videos, and live theatre, we will consider the transformative states of the lover’s (un)becoming.

Traversing genres, periods and cultures, we will also reflect on the relationship between wooing-author and swooning-reader, that is, as a bond that relates you as a writer to me and your classmates as your readers. On your pages, too, there may surface a playful flirtation, (false) promises, a tantrum or two, passion, intimacy, heartache, sarcasm, even humor. Essentially, in this course, you will write for love.

BOOK LIST: Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Sandra Cisneros’ Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories, Junot Díaz’s This Is How You Lose Her, Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic