[ENGL 190] Literary Studies: Intimacy
What does it mean to “love” a fictional character? Does literature love us back? In novels, characters often confess to us their closest held desires and beliefs. We get to go deeper inside the minds and hearts of people than we ever could in real life. What do we learn about the nature of love when we have this kind of access? Poetry is often first and foremost love poetry. What does it mean for a poet to treat a lover as an occasion for writing while expecting someone else—us—to be the audience actually reading? This course will introduce students to literary analysis and close reading by exploring the intimate relations that literature offers. On the one hand, we will explore how love, sex, desire, and friendship are represented in literature. On the other, we will study how readers and communities have fallen in love with literature and used it for both personal and political ends. How do women and queer people re-write narratives of sexuality? How can sex, intimacy, friendship, and love be politicized?