Literature and Its Readers
9 units (3-0-6) | first term
The course will investigate readers who have made adventurous uses of their favorite works of literature, from Greek antiquity through the 20th century. Sometimes those readers count, at least temporarily, as literary critics, as when the philosopher Aristotle made Sophocles' Oedipus the King the central model in his wildly successful essay on the literary form of tragedy. Other readers have been even more experimental, as when Sigmund Freud, studying the same play, made the "Oedipus complex" a meeting point for his theory of psychology, his vision of human societies, and his fascination with literary narrative. It will discuss some basic questions about the phenomenon of literary reading. Does a book have a single meaning? Can it be used rightly or wrongly? Not offered 2021-2022.