Classes

Literature and Film: Ghostly Temporalities

Semester: 

N/A

The course examines the theme of time in film, philosophy and literature. We begin with a reading of Hamlet, laying the groundwork for a study of the influence of the play on 20th Century thought. The second part focuses on works by Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce; on philosophical texts by Nietzsche, Derrida and Deleuze (especially their readings of Hamlet), and on films by Alfred Hitchcock, the Coen Brothers, Terry Gilliam. Special attention will be paid to the relation between time and technology, the figure of the ghost, the theme of falsehood (the role of the simulacrum in the twentieth century representations of time), and the conventions of genre (tragic time vs comic time). 

Dante and Modernism

Semester: 

N/A

Dante’s presence in the work of various twentieth-century writers is widely acknowledged. Yet the extent to which his poetry can help us theorise a poetics of modernism remains to be explored. In this course we will try to understand why numerous modernist writers were fascinated with Dante’s Commedia. We will touch on modernist uses of Dante as a mythic model or as an intertextual source; modernist representations of the descent into the underworld; modernist revaluations of Dante’s moral universe; changing interpretations of the ethical value of emotions (Love, Joy, Pity, Terror); phantasmagoria and the image in modernism; ineffability and immemoriality.

European Modernism

Semester: 

N/A

This course explores major themes in European modernism. Class discussions focus on the following themes: the preoccupation with historicity; the mobilization of anachronistic structures and ghostly temporalities by the avant-garde; the ethics of forgetting and encyclopaedic form. Authors included in the syllabus are T. S. Eliot, Joseph Conrad, James Joyce and Pirandello. (Offered at the University of Perugia)

Paranoid Hermeneutics I & II: Contemporary American Fiction

Semester: 

N/A

The course looks at a number of texts that explore paranoia, not as a medical condition but as a hermeneutic approach coinciding with a modernist and postmodernist fascination with all-encompassing sign systems. The discussion will focus on the following themes: the nature of subjective experience; the power of media; the relation between fiction and reality; entropy and semiotics; hyper-reality; the ontological status of hallucinations; artificial intelligence; the viability of the novel as a contemporary narrative genre.

Narcissus on the Liffey: Image and Identity in the Modern Irish Novel

Semester: 

N/A

The course explores the theme of Narcissism as it emerges in the work of six Irish novelists of the late 19th and 20th Century. The discussion will revolve around two main issues: first it will trace the ways in which the figure of Narcissus haunts the Modernist imaginary, yielding a set of themes and philosophical paradoxes around which the defining concerns of Modernist literary discourse can be organized. Secondly, it will consider the implications of pitting a Modernist (i.e. cosmopolitan and international) narrative of self-identity against a specifically Irish treatment of the Narcissus myth. The authors included in the syllabus are Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Flann O’Brien and John Banville.