This course invites students to explore the role of fiction and the imaginary in the definition and invention of the self. We will focus on our relation to real and imaginary others, and the interplay of desire, anxiety, and sometimes violence involved in this relation. Throughout the course we will deal with issues related to sexual, social, and ethnic identities, questioning the traditional boundaries between the natural and the artificial, the familiar and the alien, the private and the public. Readings will include texts by Virginia Woolf, Nabokov, Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Böll, and Duras, and and contemporary science fiction authors. Further examples will be drawn from art, film, and advertisement.
Evaluation will be based on class participation, an oral presentation, and three short essays. No final.