E 379N • Literature, Psychology, and Mind
2:00 PM-3:00 PM
For over a century, a complex dialogue has unfolded between literary theorists, psychologists and philosophers: what does literature reveal about the human mind and its workings? Is literature a mirror of the mind, its developmental stages, and its mysterious combinations of reason and emotion, or is it something else again? What is the relation of narrative art and "real life?" In this course we will explore this rich terrain, reading some of the most influential theorists who have analyzed the intersections of psychology and literature, or who have laid the groundwork for such analyses. Our readings will include representative samplings of psychoanalytic theory; archetypal psychology; ego psychology; object-relations theory; feminism, queer, and gender theory; trauma theory; cognitive psychologies; and recent breakthroughs in neuroscience. We will also read and discuss plays, poems, and novels in conjunction with our study of these theories.
This course is intended as an advanced theory course. E321K, Introduction to Literary Theory, is recommended but not a prerequisite. Students who sign up for this course should be aware that the readings are challenging, time-consuming, and abundant.
1-page journal entries (one per class) 40%
1st paper (5 pages, rewritten twice) 15%
2nd paper (10 pages, rewritten twice) 25%
Peer critiques 10%
Selections from Sigmund Freud, Otto Rank, Carl Jung, Ernest Jones, Melanie Klein, Jacques Lacan, Herbert Marcuse, Erik Erikson, Norman O. Brown, Julia Kristeva, Didier Anzieu, Harold Bloom, Jacqueline Rose, Elizabeth Grosz, Cathy Caruth, Shoshanah Felman, Antonio Damasio, and Daniel Siegel.
William Shakespeare, Hamlet; Emily Dickinson, selected poems; Henry David Thoreau, Walden (selections); Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar; Manuel Puig, Kiss of the Spider Woman; Primo Levi, The Periodic Table; Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye; Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart