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Course materials 2015/16


The work of the seminar will fall into three sections, focusing on the following thinkers and texts:

  • Augustine, Confessions (Signet Classics, translation by Rex Warner)
  • Emily Dickinson, Selected Poems (Everyman, edited by Helen McNeil)
  • Tom McCarthy, Remainder (Alma Books)

Please use these editions of the texts. This will allow us to have common reference points in class, and these are the editions you will be allowed to bring into the exam at the end of the year. Augustine and Dickinson will be studied during Term 1 and McCarthy during Term 2.

Weeks 1-3

Augustine, Confessions

Wk 1 – Learning to read and write: words, books, attention, restlessness

Monday – Introduction to the class—Augustine, Dickinson and McCarthy—and to the Confessions (passages from Bk I)

Thursday – Discussion of Bks VI and VIII*

Presentation Take it and read Andrew Piper, ch. 1, Book Was There -- Roshni

*See esp. VI.3 on Ambrose reading, and garden scene VIII.8-12; see excerpt from Erich Auerbach, Mimesis, on VI.8.

Wk 2 – Good and evil

Monday – Discussion of Bks II-III*

Presentation on Charles Taylor, ‘“In interiore homine”’, ch. 7, Sources of the Self -- Tom

*See esp. the pears in II.4-10, and III.2, 4-7.

Thursday – Discussion of Bks IV and IX*

Presentation on Genevieve Lloyd, ‘Augustine and the “problem” of time’, ch. 1, Being in Time

See esp. IV.4-11 on friendship and IX.8-13 on mother’s life and death.

Week 3 – Memory, time, literature and being

Monday – Discussion of Bk X

Presentation on Mark Currie, 'The Present', ch.2, About Time -- Bethan

Thursday – Discussion of Bk XI and summary discussion

Presentation on Mark Currie, 'Temporality and Self-Distance', ch. 4, About Time -- Hannah

Weeks 4-5 and 7

Emily Dickinson

Week 4 – Poetry, personae, profession

Monday – Introduction to Dickinson; hooks and headlines

Poems to discuss will include 712, 1129, 303, 441, 67

Thursday – Making poetry; waxing lyrical?

Poems to discuss will include 320, 617, 449, 1562, 709, 312, 448, 613

Presentation on Virginia Jackson, 'Lyric Reading' (first half and second half), ch. 2, Dickinson’s Misery -- Eleanor

Week 5 – Mind, body, self

Monday – perception: limits, construction and expansion

Poems to discuss include 1071, 365, 285

Presentation on Marianne Noble, ‘Dickinson on perception and consciousness: a dialogue with Maurice Merleau-Ponty’, in ED and Philosophy -- Tess

Thursday – ‘Me from Myself – to banish –’

Poems to discuss include 642, 315, 650, 465, 280, 670

Presentation on Timothy Gould, ‘Intensity and its audiences: toward a feminist perspective on the Kantian sublime’, in Feminism and Tradition in Aesthetics

Week 7 – Knowing, understanding, loving, destroying

Monday – reading Dickinson with the pragmatists

Poems presented in Tursi

Presentation on Renée Tursi, ‘Emily Dickinson, Pragmatism and the Conquests of Mind’, in Emily Dickinson and Philosophy -- Belle

Presentation on Victor Kestenbaum, ‘“Meaning on the Model of Truth”: Dewey and Gadamer on Habit and Vorurteil’ (section with ED; surrounding sections) -- Kate

Thursday – Size, power, love, and of course death

Poems to consider include 187, 193, 252, 273, 601, 640, 754, 875, 889, 985

Summary discussion

See also Anne-Lise Francois, excerpt from Open Secrets: The Literature of Uncounted Experience

Term 2: Weeks 1-3

McCarthy, Remainder

Week 1

Monday – Re-enactment

Discussion of Remainder, Chapters 1-6

Presentation on Vanessa Agnew, "What is re-enactment?" Criticism, 2004

Thursday – The Real Experience, Simulacra, Authenticity

Presentation on Baudrillard, “The Precession of Simulacra” from Simulacra and Simulation -- Rebecca

Week 2

Monday -- Author or Machine?

Discussion of Remainder, Chapters 7-10

Presentation on online interviews with Tom McCarthy -- Alex B

Thursday – Mediated selfhood

Discussion of Remainder, Chapters 11-end

Presentation on Friedrich Kittler, Gramophone, Film, Typewriter -- Chloe

Week 3

Monday –Mechanical Memories

Discussion of Remainder , Chapters 11-end

Presentation Justus Nieman, “Dirty Media: Tom McCarthy and the Afterlife of Modernism,” Modern Fiction Studies 58:3, Fall 2012, 571-598.

Thursday – Final Class

Discussion of Remainder (and Augustine, Dickinson)

Presentation Bernard Steigler, “Memory” -- Nadeine