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Madness & Literature

ENGL 102.401
instructor(s):
MWF 11:00

Note: This course fulfills the General Requirement within the Arts & Letters sector. It is one of only four courses offered by English that does so.

The purpose of this course is to acquaint students with primary works that deal with insanity over much of the last two centuries and with scholarly commentary--both literary and medical--about problems that we encounter in the reading. The primary works include Shelley, Frankenstein; De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater; Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights; Charlotte Bronte, Villette; a number of short works by Poe, Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray; Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway; Kafka, The Castle; Celine, Journey to the End of the Night; a selection of stories by Sartre; Mann, Dr. Faustus; Lagerkvist, The Dwarf; and Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49. The psychological-medical backgrounds are extensive, and include topics such as substance abuse, schizophrenia, and the mental asylum. I encourage people with a pre-professional interest in this area to read widely beyond the list for the course. There are two papers, one a brief review of the literature, the other a critical-research paper and--in lieu of examinations--two overnight snap-papers.