COMPLIT 280 - America and Its Others
Section: 002 Literature and Violence
Term: WN 2010
Subject: Comparative Literature (COMPLIT)
Department: LSA Comparative Literature
Requirements & Distribution:
May be elected twice for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Today it is a commonplace to lament and criticize the representation of violence in films and video games. Yet violence has existed as an important element in literature from the time of myths onward, and no one complains that Homer is too violent. We will explore the idea of violence in art broadly, but the focus of this course will be the special role that violence plays in both North American and South American literature of the twentieth century. From stories of ruthless frontiers to urban conflict, this course will investigate the depictions of violence in literary texts ranging from William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom to Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club.

Some questions to be pursued include: is there an essential relationship between violence and art? Do acts of violence represent more than just a theme of literature? Do the act of violence and the act of writing share a common foundation? In what ways does violence affect the formation of American identities in terms of race, religion, gender and class? How does the depiction and use of violence differ between North America and South America, and what conclusions can be drawn from those differences?

Requirements: active and consistent participation, a reading journal, some short responses, one presentation, two essays (6-8 pages).

Some possible readings:
Aeschylus - Agamemnon
William Faulkner - Absalom, Absalom
Vladimir Nabokov – Lolita
Roberto Bolaño – Distant Star
Chuck Palahniuk – Fight Club
Cormac McCarthy – The Road
Various short stories by Latin American authors

COMPLIT 280 - America and Its Others
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
TuTh 8:30AM - 10:00AM
002 (SEM)
MWF 1:00PM - 2:00PM
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