LS 801: Reflections on Reason and Passion II

Spring 2014  | Dr. Stephen Duguid

This course explores from LS 800 I, exploring a variety of texts that express or reflect upon the human passions and upon the relationship between those passions and the realms of action, will, and reason.  While there is some chronological coherence in the ordering of the texts, the primary intent is to examine issues and themes that reflect human experiences, feelings and behaviours.

Course Requirements:

Following an introduction and a review of contextual issues by the instructors, each week one or more students will be asked to present the salient points or issues (as they relate to passion and reason) raised in one of the readings, followed by general discussion and debate. The week after the class, the student responsible for the animation of the discussion will submit (via e-mail to the class) a two/three page summary of the presentation and the class discussion.  In addition there will be one written assignments over the course of the term and students will keep a journal of responses to texts and seminars.

Course Readings:

Part I Love and Death

Week 1  Goethe, Sorrows of Young Werther
               Jean Anouilh, Antigone

Week 2  Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse  
                Elizabeth Smart, By Grand Central Station

Week 3 Tolstoy, The Kreutzer Sonata
               Dostoevsky, The Grand Inquisitor         (Zaslove)

Saturday Flaubert, Madame Bovary

Part  II Reason and Unreason

Week 4  Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground
               Camus, The Outsider

Week 5  Kierkegaard, The Present Age

 Week 6  Darwin, Origin of Species

Part III Politics and the Body

Week 7   Marx, Communist Manifesto 
                 Brecht, Antigone

Week 8  Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents (Jack Martin)

Week 9 Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
               Ibsen, Hedda Gabler(Sasha Colby)

Saturday Nabokov, Lolita

Part IV Reflections

Week 10  Percy Shelley, A Defence of Poetry
                  Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Week 11 Antonio Damasio, Descartes’ Error

Week 12  Coetzee, The Lives of Animals

Week 13  Judith Butler, Antigone's Claim: Kinship between Life and Death