28 ago. 2010

I just realized my colleague gave a course on violence in the Spanish novel recently. Maybe I don't want to organize my course thematically around violence after all. Maybe that will just be one theme.

Someone else also pointed out that with a monothematic course, discussions can get repetitive toward the end.

Here is my plan so far. I will organize the course around two to four topics like the following:

(1) Violence and the sacred. Sacralizations and aestheticizations of violence. Lorca and Hernández.

(2) Drugs and alcohol: drunkenness (Rodríguez), drug abuse, drug-induced madness (Leopoldo María Panero). Poetry as a mind altering substance. Venoms (Gamoneda). The pharmacological imagination. I just read a fantastic book on this subject, Las letras arrebatadas, by Germán Labrador Méndez. I could have my students read sections of that.

(3) Sex and sexuality.

(4) Poetry and music.

I hate the idea of "sex, drugs, and rock and roll in medieval times," those kind of courses that pander to the superficial glamour of certain topics. What I hate even more, though, is the idea that poetry is realm of purity where everything is sublimated out of existence. This would be course based on a Rimbaudian conception of poetry, more or less, with some Baudelairean artificial paradises thrown in. More Dionysius than Apollo.

The major figures of the course, then, would be

Lorca (sex, violence, music)

Hernández (violence, music)

Gamoneda (violence, venoms)

Rodríguez (drunkenness)

Panero (drugs)

Rossetti (sex)


Drugs and drunkenness is something else that everyone officially disapproves of, but that is pretty much central to the way cultures function--just like sex and violence. These four themes also intersect in interesting ways. Sex goes with violence and with music too.

3 comentarios:

Joseph Hutchison dijo...

Maybe violence is not just physical. Maybe drunkenness and drugs, for example, are forms of violence. Maybe certain of these writers commit mental/spiritual violence against their readers and/or themselves.


Thomas dijo...

This sounds like it will be the coolest course on campus. Sex (3), drugs (2), and rock and roll (4) ... oh yes, and violence (1). Nice.

Thomas dijo...

Oh yes, and I now definitively feel like I made the wrong choice in going after a PhD in science studies rather than philosophy of literature. If I were a recognized expert on Norman Mailer right now, I'd be all over this stuff.