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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Spring 2006

T C 357 • Five Modern Dramas in a Philosophical Reading-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
42670 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
WAG 112

Course Description

There is clearly a tradition of philosophical reflection in Modern European drama, starting with the symbolists in the 1890's and extending into our time. So obvious is this tendency that one might even ask why dramatists are so much more inclined towards philosophical questioning and reasoning than poets or prose narrators. Is it the dialogue tradition of Philosophy? Or is it maybe the case that philosophical problems, life problems, or existence problems have an intrinsic dramaturgy? When it comes to fundamental ethical and existential questions a purely descriptive approach can be clearly unsatisfactory. In addition to the need of formulating a question, there is a need of (showing. In drama there is a tradition from Sophokles' Antigone until Gombrowicz of doing exactly this. Drama is a superb tool for making a situation visible. In this course the study of the theatrical texts will be accompanied by the reading of a number of shorter philosophical texts, which form part of the intellectual contexts of the plays.

About the Professor Lars Gustafsson is the Jamail Distinguished Professor in the Plan II Program and has taught a number of Plan II courses in Literature and Philosophy. He is a Swedish writer and philosopher. Some twelve of his books are translated into English. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow in Poetry, a Fellow of the Berlin Institute for Advanced Study , and is a member of three European Academies, including the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering. Dr. Gustafsson was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in l997.

Grading Policy

This course contains a substantial writing component. According to the substantial writing component requirement, three course papers of at least six pages each will be required: 40% At least one oral report on the readings: 30% Class participation: 30%


The Dramas: Henrik Ibsen, The Wild Duck August Strindberg, A Dream Play Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit Samuel Beckett, Happy Days Withold Gombrowicz, Ivona Princess of Burgundy
Philosophical background readings to be interpolated: Nietzsche, "Ueber Wahrheit und Lüge im aussermoralischen Sinn" Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus Antonin Artaud, The Theatre and Its Double


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