Comparative Literature 594 | The Imperial Bedroom:
Literature & the Arts | Spring 2006 | Storm Hall 342 | 3:30 to
6:10pm | William A.
Picture these handsome textual couples caught, as it were, en flagrante:
Greek poet Homer's epic lyric The Odyssey in a salacious tryste with Irishman
James Joyce's landmark novel Ulysses; Chinese writer Sei Shonagon's curious
11th-century memoir, The Pillow Book, between the sheets with Welsh &
English director Peter Greenaways classic film, The Pillow Book.
What do we see here? Couple-texts, the imperial bedroom serving as a
grandiose stage of sorts, and, curiously enough, coupled texts: Joyce,
reshaping the contours of English fiction forever, turns to a Greek classic
to order his sinewy fiction; Greenaway, a gifted director and artist, turns
to a centuries-old memoir to guide his very twentieth century eye. Literature,
Cinema, and Art, sister arts or lover arts co-mingled in a lurid and lyric
Our Comparative Literature course will spend hours upon hours in the
imperial bedrooms of novels, cinema and painting. The "bedroom" is
imperial, in that it rules the domestic space of the house--a site of power,
without question, which architecturally mirrors in strange ways the psyche
of that space's inhabitants.
Not for nothing will Odysseus do war with Sirens and Cyclops on his
wearying journey back to his beloved Penelope; similarly, Leopold
Bloom braves the streets of Dublin on his quest for the affections of his
connubial satyr, the inimitable Molly Bloom.
The name of our course derives from the ironic
stylings of British composer, Elvis Costello--his album, too, Imperial
Bedroom, will be one of the required works of this utterly experimental,
purposely eclectic class. So Music too, along with Literature, Cinema and
Art, will have something to teach us this term.
While this course is designed for English and Comparative Literature
majors and film aficionados, any student interested in books, film, and
bedrooms won't be bored during the semester. Other coupled works for the
semester include Aura, by Carlos Fuentes, with Sunset Boulevard, by Billy
time permitting, Adaptation,
by Susan Orleans, with Adaptation, written by Charlie Kaufman and directed
by Spike Jonze.
Mondays from 3:30 to 6:10 in Storm Hall 342
January 23 Monday
Class introduction; BEYOND BELIEF listening session; kvetching
about small classroom; lots of crashers kindly accomodated!
January 30 Monday
Read CARLOS FUENTES's AURA.
February 6, Monday
Read the first chapter of ULYSSES by James Joyce and the
first book of the Odyssey by Homer; you are welcome to complete your readings
without benefit of a reading guide--that said, a first-rate dictionary
and concise encyclopedia will be of great use to you. You may do
your readings in any order: homer first, then joyce, or the reverse.
do beware that the road taken and not taken, to steal from r. frost, are
different roads. This week I will be reading homer and then joyce.
February 13, Monday
thank you all for your work this past monday--these are
challenging and delicious works of literature; it would be enough to read
the odyssey or joyce to perplex and drive a normal undergraduate class.
but we are doing both simultaneously! at least we
for this coming week, let's switch things up a tad:
this week, to give you time to begin your readings in earnest, we will
take a time-out and screen billy wilder's SUNSET BOULEVARD.
this will allow us to guage the communication between
this filmed text and AURA--but it will also, in an odd way, help us to
fathom the figuration of the female/mother/other archetype that so engaged
the class discussion this past monday. gloria swanson's portrayal
of norma desmond is remarkable in many respects, but perhaps most of all
owing to her embodiment of a Salome-like succubus (shades of Señora
eagerbeavers truly interested in this figuration and its
psychoanalytic consequences should read a little of LUCE IRIGARAY's __speculum
of the other woman__ essays, cornell university press. i
will put a copy of one of her essays on your site later today....
February 20, MondayHIATUS--read ahead!
February 27, Mondayyour reading for Monday February 27,
is to read up to page 177, the end of book 11 of the Odyssey.
March 6, 2006
for the next week, March 6, 2006, see if you can read
in joyce's ulysses to the end of page 291, the end of the SIRENS chapter
TONS of readings!
do not hesitate to use the guide found here to assist
the moving map they have here to help you with chapter
10 is amazing!!!
one other site to see if you want to begin to understand
just how much joyce nested in this text is here:
a simple map from that page is here:
but do know! YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED to use
these guides at all--the pleasures of ULYSSES are bound up in giving yourself
over to joyce's singular literary vision.
One other succinct and useful
guide is here.
Can't go to Dublin? Peek
for a walking tour!
March 13, 2006
March 20, 2006
Enter the classroom having read all the way to page 609,
the end of section II of ULYSSES--429 to 609 are in the form of a play,
so don't let the monstrous page-count fool you! Today, you will receive
your final project assignment sheet that outlines your writing/art/etc
project for the class--it is due May 8, 2006 at our final class seminar/colloquia/all-night-video-dance
Semester Project Assignment: plain; noir
March 27, 2006
Read to page in THE ODYSSEY to page 335, the end of book
21 of Homer's epic. Also, read to the end of page 665 in Joyce's
ULYSSES, the end of ch. 16, Eumaeus. today's class features a cool
guest lecture by Stephanie Wells!
Stephanie Wells is assistant professor of English at
Orange Coast College.
She has a BA in English and Dramatic Art from UC Berkeley,
an MA in
literature from University of Virginia, and a PhD
in English from UC Davis.
She also attended the University of London and has
taught at UC Davis,
the University of San Francisco, and as a visiting
Fulbright lecturer at
Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany.
She specializes in
American and British modernism, poetry, and gender
studies, and her
undergraduate thesis at Berkeley was on Ulysses.
Don't forget your decorated with key images from the
reading three dollar envelope thingie!
April 3, 2006
Read to page 737, the end of the 17nth ITHACA chapter
April 10, 2006
Finish ULYSSES and THE ODYSSEY--this is the week as well
to CAREFULLY LISTEN TO and READ THE LYRICS to Elvis Costello's IMPERIAL
BEDROOM; consider the dissonance and harmonies implicit in and explicit
to these three grand operas of love and more.
april 8, 2006
THE PILLOWBOOK by Peter Greenaway!
preparation for the pillowbook screening for next monday--begin your reading
of sei sonagon, at least 100 pages, so that the following week won't seem
onerous. in addition read this interview
with greenaway; this one
won't hurt either; and, lastly, read this
in books, skins, beds, and more,
the relationship between body of translator and body of work in Aura shares
much with the same in the PILLOWBOOK--watch for it!
into class having read THE PILLOW BOOK by SEI SHONAGON.
In-class imagination festival challenge, aka APRIL SCARY
EXAM; prepare for the exam by reviewing your reading notes from ULYSSES
and THE ODYSSEY--you may come into class with one page of typed quotations
from ULYSSES, THE ODYSSEY, AURA, and SUNSET BOULEVARD that you want to
play with during your SCARY EXAM
Party | Cafe Literati Terrace | South Patio Adams Humanities | BYODOFYWLTS*
*bring your own drink or food
you would like to share