Am I a body, or do I have one? The western tradition of favoring our intellectual and spiritual experience over the physical has long informed, and indeed limited, our sense of self as human beings. While some writers maintain that the creative impulse is a gift of the muse and that it is rooted entirely in the mind or spirit, there are those for whom the human body, frequently their own, plays a central role, both in the process of creation and as a subject of artistic inquiry and contemplation. In their writing, these authors tell a very different tale with regard to the human experience, and it is focused on the primacy of the body. This course will consider the work of, among others, Maupassant, Kafka, Tanizaki, Tolstoy, Dinesen, Collodi, Babel, and Atwood in order to examine how writers from different cultural and aesthetic perspectives either present or use the body as a vehicle of expression. We will also consider other areas of study that are intimately related to the life of the body, such as asceticism, pathology, prostitution, and disability.
The Class: Format: tutorial; weekly sessions with the instructor and a fellow student
Requirements/Evaluation: on alternate weeks students will either write and present a 5-page paper on the assigned readings or write and present a 2-page critique of a pre-circulated paper
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Enrollment Preferences: first- and second-year students considering a major in Comparative Literature
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills
Attributes: PHLH Bioethics + Interpretations of Health