RCHUMS 318 - Critical Approaches to Literature
Section: 001 Figure, Interior, Landscape
Term: WN 2008
Subject: RC Humanities (RCHUMS)
Department: LSA Residential College
Requirements & Distribution:
May be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Contemporary critical and cultural analysis has problematized traditional reference points in painting and writing: the figure, the interior, and the landscape. As definable entities, as locatable sites, as arenas of human habitation and desire, these reference points seem to have lost their anchoring power.

This course will examine a group of American writers and painters whose works occur on the threshold of this change. "Figure, interior, landscape" unfold within their works as troubled, anxious, ruptured presences. Within this troubled environment, one question (although not the only) that these works ask is: what becomes of the religious sense - the ancient tie that binds the human subject to nature and to nature's god? Can this tie be explained away, argued or shamed into non-existence? Were the traditional genres underwritten by religious categories of thought or representation?

When these categories collapse, what is the status of the remnant? Another and possibly related question is the problem of beauty. What is its origin? Its goal? Is it an epiphenomenon of language? A mirage of mirages? The advent of terror that "we are just able to bear?" And how do figures, interiors, and landscapes stand in relation to this enigmatic presence?

Writers include: J.D. Salinger, A Perfect Day for Bananafish; Franny and Zooey; Sylvia Plath, The Colossus; Flannery O'Connor, The Violent Bear It Away; Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita. Painters include: Edward Hopper; Mark Rothko; Barnett Newman; Lucian Freud.

RCHUMS 318 - Critical Approaches to Literature
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 2:00PM - 3:30PM
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