Tu/Th 02:00-03:30 258 Dwinelle Instructor: Leslie Kurke
This course will explore the connections between detective fiction and psychoanalysis,
starting from the near synchronicity of their first appearances and their mutually
reinforcing methods and narrative structures. We will read Sophocles’ Oedipus the King
as the archtype of both forms, considering why the question of guilt (“Who did it?”)
insistently in these texts becomes a question of identity (“Who am I?”). We will also consider other aspects of identity—sexuality, race, and class—that appear repeatedly
imbricated in the explorations of self of the two genres. This reading together of detective
fiction and psychoanalysis will allow us to explore various different theoretical
approaches (including narratology, structuralism, deconstruction) and to grapple with our
compulsions to identify mysteries, to narrate, and to emplot them—and ourselves.
Texts will include Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, Apuleius’ Golden Ass, short stories by
E. A. Poe and A. C. Doyle, Collins’ The Moonstone, and Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!
There will be several papers required, including a long final paper based on a book of the
student’s own choosing read outside of class.