10:30 AM to 11:45 AM TR
Thompson Hall 2022
Section Information for Fall 2023
This course fulfills the Mason Core requirement for Literature.
In this course we will examine problems of text and authority presented by fictive literature. Through close readings of texts considered philosophical, theoretical and fictional we will address the problem of truth from different angles and get different answers to the question: ‘what is true?’ We will also explore the question of writing itself as both a productive and reproductive enterprise. What is the status of the author? What is the relationship between authority and truth in/of a text?
Plato poses our first questions here by the elaborate framing of his own authority and the critical examination of the limits of the written word. In their own ways Friedrich Nietzsche, Tim O’Brien and Clarice Lispector can be seen as responding to this Platonic challenge by transforming the relationships between truth, writing and reality. Similarly, Roland Barthes, Jorge Luis Borges and Hélène Cixous develop and deepen the problem of authority and the production of writing initiated by Plato. Through close reading and class discussion we will explore these philosophical issues that are not limited to the realm of literature but are perhaps best exemplified there.
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