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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Fall 2009

E 322 • Pathology and the Powers of Narrative

Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

Please refer to the course schedule for course days, time, room location, prerequisites and possible cross-listings:

This course will deal with various forms of human experience in terms of their contribution to the pathological alteration of life. I use "pathological" to refer to forms of violence, excess or disorder arising from love, hate, war, crime, terrorism, torture, poverty, madness and physical disease. The phenomena in question will be studied in terms of their subversion or antagonism of authority--family, law, church, state--and their stimulus to forms of intellectual order narratively expressed in fiction and autobiography.

Grading Policy

The program of work for the course will include three 1500-word papers, each worth 25% of the course grade, and class participation, itself worth 25% of the total grade. Students may if they prefer do one long paper of 4500 words worth 75% of the grade. If you choose to do this, you will submit two written progress reports due at appropriate moments of the semester. Needless to say, progress entails a process of revision.

Class participation -- oral discussion of the various readings -- is a significant part of your grade. Since language is a fact of social life, the knowledge we gain writing and reading is necessarily shared with others. This is always the case, however solitary we may be in those moments when we actually write or read. Conversation is a lively reminder of the collective or interactive nature of knowledge. For this reason, more than any other, class participation is essential.


Tristan and Iseult; Jean Racine: Phaedra; Charles Perault: Sleeping Beauty, Blue Beard, Tom Thumb; Aldous Huxley: The Devils of Loudun (extracts); The Philosopher and the Demon: Three Cartesian Meditations; D.A.F. de Sade: "Eugenie de Franval"; Scenes from the Terror; Alexis de Tocqueville: Recollections (extracts); Guy de Maupassaant: “The Horla”, “Fear”, “The Hand”; Felix Youssoupoff: The Murder of Rasputin and its sequels; Blaise Cendrars: Lice (extracts); Marguerite Duras: The War (extracts); Henri Alleg: The Question; Paul Bowles: “The Delicate Prey”


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