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The Subject of Love

ENGL 778.401

Concepts and representations of love in certain philosophical,
literary, and psychoanalytic texts, as well as in film and painting,
from Plato to Godard.  If love is constituted by the very language
used to "describe" it, we could perhaps also argue that the
construction of love as a psychic reality is inseparable from the
elaboration of particular forms of subjectivity.  To represent and to
theorize different modes and objects of human love is, at least
implicitly, to propose varying structures of selfhood.  A history of
amorous imagery and discourse re-enacts and reformulates the
Foucaldian project of tracing the "hermeneutics of subjectivity" in
Western culture.  We will be testing this hypothesis first in a few
texts from Antiquity (by Plato and Sophocles), and then, primarily, in
modern works by Freud, D.H. Lawrence, Henry James, Proust, Duras,
Claire Denis, Jarman, Rohmer, and Godard.  With Jarman and Godard, we
will also be examining the mimetic and frictional relations between
film and painting.

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