Reading & Composition
This will be a class that focuses on the construction of the love story and on the “natural” feelings that serve as its basis; we will examine and analyze the correlations between the forms love may take and the shapes of their narratives by surveying a wide variety of love plots from various historical time periods and national literatures. Beginning with prototypical love stories,we will move on to stories about alternative forms of love and ask what happens to narrative form when love’s appearance becomes unconventional. Along with our primary readings, we will read some narrative theory and some theories of love and romance in order to help us understand how Western culture has conceived of romance, courtship, marriage, and adultery. Our discussions will cover a range of topics such as chastity, same-sex love, interracial romance, and passionate friendship.
This course is designed to help students develop critical thinking, writing, and oral expression skills that are applicable beyond the domain of literary studies. Students will learn how to develop interesting analytical arguments by refining their ideas through the drafting and revision of three essays. Short writing assignments will also be required in order to help facilitate thinking about the course’s material. Since this is a discussion-based course, a strong emphasis will be placed on active student participation in class.
Potential readings include works by Shakespeare, Austen, the Grimm Brothers, Lafayette, Graffigny, Goethe, Sand, Balzac, Rossetti, Tanizaki, Mishima, Colette, Esquivel, and Morrison.