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

Fall 2005

E 324 • Literary Marriages from Hell

(Will Not Count Toward a Major in English)

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
33160 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
PAR 301

Course Description

The personal lives of authors nearly always find their ways into their works and none more so than in the case of these three pairs of star-crossed marriages: the Fitzgeralds, the Eliots, and the Hugheses. Out of the ashes of their tortured marriages and private agonies rose some literary masterpieces and many enduring works. We will use the tools of biography, memoir, letters, and above all, the words of the principals, both in their creative and private lives, to decipher and explicate some of the major texts of the twentieth century. For F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, we will read Scott's Tender is the Night and The Crack-Up and Zelda's Save Me the Waltz. With the Eliots we will focus on that most personal of impersonal poems, The Waste Land. In the case of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes we will read Plath's poetry and notebooks and her novel The Bell Jar, and Hughes's last collection of poetry, Birthday Letters.

Grading Policy

Exam 1 20%
Exam 2 25%
Take-home assignment 15%
Exam 3 25%
Class participation 15%


F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night, The Crack-Up
Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, Save Me the Waltz
T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land and Other Poems
Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems, The Bell Jar, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
Ted Hughes, Birthday Letters

Films: F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great American Dreamer, Tom and Viv, Sylvia


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