Narrative Regret

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					English334: Narrative Regret English 334 T & TH 3:00 – 4:15 in SCA254 Screening SUN 7 – 10pm in Wilder 101 Office Hours: Tu 2 – 3 & by appt.

Prof. Geerken Professor Ingrid Geerken Rice 03, X58531 ingrid.geerken@oberlin.edu

English 334:

Narrative Regret
We often feel sorry for acts that we have either done or failed to do, whether the object of regret is miniature (the breaking of a vase), or gigantic (the accidental killing of a person). This course begins with the premise that regret is essentially generative of narrative. In imagining what might have or could have happened—(“If only…”; “I wish I had…”)— we rewrite the past and invent a new future. In this course, we will investigate three kinds of literary regret: Martial (regret over the act of killing), Marital (regret over the act of marrying), and Mortal (regret over the death of a loved one). In each case, a close reading of an exemplary nineteenth-century text (Conrad’s Lord Jim, James’s Portrait of a Lady, Hardy’s Pursuit of the Well Beloved) will be combined with theoretical and philosophical elaborations on regret. We will also explore classic and contemporary versions of regret in, for example, Greek & Renaissance tragedy, contemporary poetry and current films. Required Texts: Coleridge, Samuel. Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Dover) Conrad, Joseph. Lord Jim (Penguin) Eliot, George. Middlemarch (Penguin) Eurpides, Four Plays (Focus) Glück, Louise. Meadowlands (Ecco) Hardy, Thomas. Selected Poems (Penguin) The Pursuit of the Well Beloved & The Well Beloved (Penguin) James, Portrait of a Lady (Penguin) Shakespeare, Hamlet Othello (Penguin) Macbeth (Penguin) Sophocles, Philoctetes (Oxford UP) Required Films: You are required to see all of the following films. Films will be screened on Sunday evening at 7pm in Wilder 101. I hope most of you can attend. If not, see the films on your own at the library before the ensuing Tuesday meeting. It is your responsibility to arrange a prior viewing. Run Lola Run, dir. Tom Twyker, 1998 Groundhog Day, dir. Harold Ramis, 1993 Touching the Void, dir. Kevin MacDonald, 2003 The Thin Red Line, dir. Terrence Malick, 1998 Memento, dir. Christopher Nolan, 2000 Apocalypse Now, dir. Francis Ford Coppola, 1979

English334: Narrative Regret Medea, dir. Lars Von Trier, 1987 Contempt, dir. Jean-Luc Godard, 1963 Paris, Texas: dir. Wim Wenders, 1984 Trois Coleurs: Blue, dir. Krzysztof Kielowski, 1993 Love Liza, dir. Todd Louiso, 2002 Talk To Her, dir. Pedro Almódovar, 2002 Six Feet Under, Allan Ball, 2001 Class Policies:

Prof. Geerken

Regular Attendance is required. Regular and active contribution to class discussion and timely preparation for class are also required. Please note that screenings are required. Articles will be found on Blackboard unless otherwise indicated. Unexcused absences and poor participation are considered a sign of disrespect towards fellow students and myself. More than three (3) absences will affect your grade. 8 absences will result in an automatic failure. Assignments and Grades: Participation (30%) includes informal assignments & group and individual prompts 3 Short Essays (30%) Final Project (40%) Participation. You have to participate in the class. This includes showing up on time, participating in discussions, responding thoughtfully to questions raised by others and thinking before you speak. In order that you be prepared for class, take some time to organize your thoughts about the material at hand; a paragraph outlining your thoughts and queries should be enough. I may not always collect these pieces of writing, but I expect you to do this because it will help you get more out of the course. It is essential that you feel comfortable speaking in groups such as class as this is the way most work gets done in institutions. Please let me know if you have trouble speaking in class and we will strategize on ways to make you more comfortable. Occasionally I will ask you to turn in writing assignments that are slightly less formal than the graded essay. These are required and count towards your participation. Group Prompts. You have to form, with other members of the course, a discussion group that meets outside class once a week. Some groups prefer to meet before discussions and/ or lectures, others prefer to meet after. That’s up to each group to decide. Groups should be 3 or 4 people, 5 maximum. On designated days I want each group to post on Blackboard a question, comment, or insight you’ve come up with together in the course of your conversations. These will be due by 5pm on the Wednesday before class, so that they can form the basis for group discussion and reflection. Writing Assignments. *Written work must be handed in on time. *Late papers will be accepted at the discretion of the instructor. *All work must be handed in order to receive credit for the course. *Hard copy must be typed, double-spaced, stapled, pages numbered.

English334: Narrative Regret *Essays must have a title, though they don’t need a cover sheet. * References should follow MLA citation.

Prof. Geerken

Short Essays. I will assign 3 short formal essays throughout the semester (one per regret module). These should be 5 – 7 pages long. These may or may not have a specific topic as decided by the instructor. These essays are due on the time and date indicated. Writing short essays is itself an art and should be a chance for you to crystallize your thoughts on a particularly intriguing, upsetting, or generative feature of the interrelated texts. The Final Project. A 3000+ word ( 10 – 12 pages) essay on the topic of your choice. An abstract and a bibliography for the final project will be due in class on Tuesday, May 8. The final paper can consist of either an interpretive analysis or an intensive research paper. On occasion I will consider, even encourage, a creative option (video, musical piece, short story). The final project is due NO LATER than the date of the final exam, Friday, May 18 at 7pm. I will not accept papers after this date. Honor Code All work is to be done under provisions of the Oberlin College Honor Code (http://www.oberlin.edu/~stlife/Honor_Code/Honor_Code.html). All ideas and language derived from someone else’s work, directly or indirectly, should be cited and help (from other students, other instructors, parents, tutors etc.) must be acknowledged. Written work should have the Honor Pledge typed and signed (typing your name constitutes a signature when you are submitting electronically). The Honor Pledge is: “I affirm that I have adhered to the Honor Code in this assignment.” Reasonable accommodation If you have a documented disability and wish to request accommodation, please let me know early in the semester.

English334: Narrative Regret

Prof. Geerken

Class Schedule AGENT-REGRET
Week 1 Tue. Feb. 6 Thu. Feb. 8: Introductions: Bruce Weigl, “Black and Tan Dog” Charlotte Brontë, “Regret” Run, Lola Run (2 copies on reserve, 2 outside my office door). Amelie Rorty, “Agent-Regret”

Week 2 Sunday Feb. 11: Groundhog Day Tue. Feb. 13 Hardy, “Poems of 1912 – 1913” from Selected Thu., Feb. 15 Hemingway, “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber” De Maupassant, “Regret” Friday, Feb. 16 : Assignment #1 due 5pm.

I. MARTIAL REGRET
Week 3. Sunday, Feb. 17: Touching The Void Tue. Feb. 20 : Philoctetes Bernard Williams, “Moral Luck” (Blackboard) Group Post #1 due by 5pm Wednesday Thu. Feb. 22: Week 4 Sunday, Feb. 25: The Thin Red Line Tue. Feb. 27: Macbeth Readings on Trauma: Caruth, Schacter etc. Group Post #2 due by 5pm Wednesday Thu., Mar. 1: Week 5 Sunday Mar. 4: Memento Tue. Mar. 6 : The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

English334: Narrative Regret

Prof. Geerken

Bollas, “The Transformational Object” Group Post #3 due by 5pm Wednesday Thu. March 8: Week 6 Sunday, March 11: Apocalypse Now Tue. March 13 : Lord Jim Thu. March 15 : Lord Jim * Monday, March 20: Paper 1 (5) pages due by 12 noon.

II. MARITAL REGRET
Week 7 Sunday March 18: Medea Tue. Mar. 20: Medea Thu. Mar. 22: Meadowlands Week 8 Tue. Mar. 27: Read Portrait***SPRING BREAK***Read Portrait Thu. Mar. 29: Read Portrait***SPRING BREAK***Read Portrait Week 9 Sunday April 1: Contempt (see on own). Tue. Apr. 3: Portrait of a Lady Group Post #4 due by 5pm Wednesday Thu. Apr. 5: Portrait of a Lady Freud’s Introductory Lecture on “Dreams” Week 10 Sunday April 8 : Paris, Texas Tue. Apr. 10: Othello Thu. April 12: Othello Cavell, Comedies of Remarriage * Monday, April 16: Paper 2 (5 – 7 pages) due by noon.

English334: Narrative Regret

Prof. Geerken

III. MORTAL REGRET
Week 11 Sunday April 15: Blue Tue. Apr. 17: The Bacchae Klein, “Mourning And Its Relation to Manic-Depressive States” Group Post #5 due by 5pm Wednesday Thu. Apr. 19: Week 12 Sunday April 22: Love, Liza Tue. Apr. 24: Hamlet Group Post #6 due by 5pm Wednesday Thu. Apr. 26: Hamlet Week 13 Sunday April 29: Talk To Her Tue. May 1: The Pursuit of the Well Beloved Thu. May 3: The Pursuit of the Well Beloved * Monday, May 7, Paper 3 ( 5 – 7 pages) due by noon. Week 14 Sunday May 6: Six Feet Under, season 1, episodes 1 & 2 Tue., May 8: Six Feet Under; Abstracts and Bibliography for Final Project due Thu. May 10: Conclusions ***Final Project Due at Time & Date of the Exam: Friday, May 18 at 7pm. NO LATE ESSAYS ACCEPTED****


				
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