english 301 summmer 2002 sdsu
Marx on the Shrink's Couch / 
Freud at the Capitalist's Bank
21st Century Psychoanalytic & Marxist Approaches to the Psychological Novel

Dr. William A. Nericcio
Associate Professor of English & Comparative Literature, 
Latin American Studies and Chicana & Chicano Studies, SDSU

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Sex and Money? Money and Sex? Regardless of which element comes first, it would be hard to imagine a human act, some facet of psychology homo sapiens, that in some way is not 'touched' or colored by one or the other. And, needless to say, said twin interests seem to figure prominently in the wonderful world of literature--that beautiful land where writers reveal all the sweet, lovely and ugly things that most of us spend half of our life trying to hide.  In light of these curious tendencies, we will spend our time sampling the flavorful words of authors like Mary Shelley, who in the midst of a torrid sexual affair, sets out to write what turns out to be the most famous, if not first, science fiction novel in the West--a remarkable tale that eventually evolves into an allegory exploring the psychology of birth. Franz Kafka will appear during our six week term as well, revealing with a decidedly European wit, the terrors and torments of a banal bourgeois existence. Sinclair Lewis, Tino Villanueva, Susan Daitch, George Stevens, David Zane Mairowitz, Robert Crumb, and Martín Espada will also jump into our tasty psychological stew.

Our assistants on this tour will be two largely discredited thinkers who for most of the world are largely debunked, passé, and forgotten: the pater familias of political economy, Karl Marx; and the oedipal father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud.  Do these two figures from 19nth and 20th century Intellectual History appear here on my syllabus as part of an effort to turn you into a Castro-loving, beret-wearing, commune-hugging Marxist? to seduce you into the sexually-charged, voyeuristic pleasures of an intrusive and single-minded psychoanalysis? Well, perhaps!  But the real reason they are here, featured front and center in a LITERATURE class, is that no other two writers have more clearly and cogently articulated the complexities of Money and Sex than Marx and Freud, and no two intellectual behemoths have more cleverly revealed the connection between power, class, psychology and desire than this dynamic duo of European scribes.  Rest assured that we will NOT ONLY talk about Marx and Freud in class--even those of you who get the hives just hearing the name "Marx" or those of you rendered incontinent by the ghost of "Freud" will find something to like this semester.  Participants in our summer experiment are not expected to be experts in LITERATURE, POLITICAL ECONOMY, NOR PSYCHOANALYSIS, and as such this class is open to all majors.  What you will need to succeed in this class is a touch of curiosity about human psychology and a willingness to read all of the books and screen the two films that make up your syllabus this semester.

The Metamorphosis and Other Stories (Dover Thrift Editions)
by Franz Kafka, Stanley Appelbaum (Translator)

Babbitt, Bantam Classic Edition
by Sinclair Lewis

Scene from the Movie GIANT, Curbstone
by Tino Villanueva

Introducing Kafka
by David Zane Mairowitz, Robert Crumb (Illustrator)

The Comic Trial of Joseph K.: Text and Context
by Hector Ortega (purchased through special arrangement with SDSU Press, $10)

Frankenstein, Broadview Edition
By Mary Shelley

Rebellion Is the Circle of a Lover’s Hands, Curbstone
by Martín Espada

by Susan Daitch



GIANT (1956)
USA 201 MINUTES; Awards/Notes:  (AAN)
Directed by George Stevens (I) (AA) (DGA)

Pi (1998) 
Directed by Darren Aronofsky

33% of your grade will be based on two 3 to 5 page essays
33% of your grade will be based on your final exam score 
 1% of your grade will be based on your drive, ganas, chutzpah etc.
33% of your grade will be based on quizzes, in-class writing, attendance, and class discussion/participation

Reading, discussion and class interaction make up a significant portion of the class; attendance helps--you won't pass without it. Get this: I do not just expect attendance, I expect prepared attendance--even, brace yourself, participation. And please do think twice about setting foot in our classroom if you have not completed your assigned reading for the day. Also to be expected? TWO 3 to 5 page short essays, various quizzes and in-class writing challenges and  a final exam on the last day of class.



Please do drop by during the semester, as I hate working with a room full of strangers!  Only if the idea of meeting a professor has you breaking out in hives, then email me at memo@sdsu.edu with your questions or comments. Call me at 594.1524 if you want to schedule a special appointment or just want to chat. Note: I do keep my office hours--if I am not there, send flowers, because I am either dead or have been abducted by space aliens.

Attendance and participation do form part of your graded work for this class, so if you plan to miss more than 2 classes, do please consider dropping the course from your summer agenda; miss more than 3 classes and your final grade will drop one whole letter grade; for example a hard-earned "B" becomes a "C" for a less-than-dedicated undergraduate. Alternatively, students with a B+ have been known to garner an A- for a seminar where they had perfect attendance.

This GENERAL EDUCATION class will deal with ADULT issues and activities. If you are squeamish about insanity, human sexuality, erotic taboos or if graphic art, literature and film leave you weak, angry, disgusted etc., PLEASE drop this class BEFORE you get the urge to call on your parents and clergy to remove me from my job! This is a university-level course exploring usually hidden elements of the human psyche: you should EXPECT to be disturbed and moved.

Pla gia rize (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Plagiarized (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Plagiarizing.] To steal or purloin from the writings of another; to appropriate without due acknowledgment (the ideas or expressions of another). You steal someone else's ideas or pay for them at some creepy internet site, you will fail this class and be reported to the University.

Last time I checked: universitybed. Rest before you come to class. Shut off all telecommunication devices BEFORE entering 4176 AH.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
  May 28

Class introduction on Literature, Psychology, Psychoanalysis, Capitalism, Sex and Money; also, we will screen two potentially cheesy videos: "Freud: The Hidden Nature Of Man" and "Karl Marx and Marxism."


May 29

Read "The Judgment" by Franz Kafka; in-class writing assignment possible--as you read, see if any ideas from the Freud or Marx videos take hold of your imagination.


May 30

LOTS OF READING ! MAKE QUALITY TIME! Read "The Metamorphosis" in your Kafka collection--the second you finish the story, open a notebook and write down what YOU view to be the TWO most dominating psychological issues in the story! NEXT read/see up to page 73 in your Introducing Kafka book by Mairowitz and Crumb. Re-open your notebook; how have your ideas changed?

June 3

Finish reading the stories in your Dover Kafka anthology; also, finish reading the Introducing Kafka book--this time, read the Mairowitz and Crumb collaboration FIRST, then the Kafka.  As you read, consider how issues of political economy (the State, power) collide with issues of psychology in Kafka's work--is Kafka a perfect fusion of Marxist and Freudian curiosities?


June 4

Today we will screen Darren Aronofsky's film Pi; consider the connections, both formal and thematic between Kafka and Aronofsky. For those of you into cinema and art, consider as well the visual connections to be made between Aronofsky and Robert Crumb.

June 5

Today we will conclude our discussion of Kafka, Aronofsky, Crumb and Mairowitz.  We will quite likely also endure an in-class writing challenge.

Though we may not have time to discuss it, also read the first the first five chapters of Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis.

Today you will receive your first short essay assignment; due Friday, noon, June 14 under my door, 4117 Adams Humanities. IMAGINATION CHALLENGE NUMERO UNO


June 6

Read to the end of chapter 13, page 182 in the Bantam edition of Lewis's Babbitt. In class, we will have a guest lecture by Professor Michael Harper, from Mount San Antonio College and the Claremont Graduate University.


June 10

Read to page 300, the end of chapter 24 in Lewis's novel; how does his critique of American capitalism jive with that we have discussed with regard to Marx--are there psychoanalytic factors also to consider?

June 11

Complete Babbitt; time allowing we will also begin screening GIANT.


June 12

Today we either begin or continue screening GIANT.


June 13

Read Tino Villañueva's Scene from the Movie Giant; as you read, reflect on director George Stevens's savvy sensitivity to issues of money, desire and ethnicity.


June 17

volume 1

June 18

volume 2

June 19

volume 3

June 20

appendices and discussion.

Also: receive paper assignment 2, due Friday June 28th at noon, 4117 Adams Humanities.

June 24

Back to Kafka, or, perhaps, moreso Aronofsky, as we read and discuss Hector Orteaga's adaptation of Kafka's TRIAL.

June 25


Read to the top of page 73.


June 26


Read to page 142


June 27


Read to page 215 and bring your book to class for cool autographs as Susan Daitch will be in the house for a public lecture and discussion on LC and Literature; bring your friends and neighbors as the public is invited.


July 1


Finish the novel.


July 2

Read and be prepared to discuss Martín Espada's Rebellion is the Circle of a Lover's Hands. Here history, ethnicity, and desire fuse together like some unlikely 'marriage' of Freud and Marx.

July 3

Final Exam; Class party at JK's Greek Cafe in La Mesa


Sigmund Freud HTMLEncyclopedia Brittanica entry on Psychoanalysis.
Sigmund Freud PDF Encyclopedia Brittanica entry on Psychoanalysis.
Franz Kafka on the Web
note: almost everything in this yellow box is the work of 
KAFKA+ at the University of Pitt. Click here for the 
original page in full.
original source is at http://www.pitt.edu/~kafka/links.html
by Individuals
Franz Kafka Photo Album webmastered by Yacov Eckel. We never linked to his site because in 1996 he had all the pictures on one page and it took hours to download. Now he makes great use of frames, and it is a real pleasure to leave through the family pics. (language: English)

There's always someone who was there before you: Robert Daeley's Franz Kafka: a good starting point language: English

Kafka-land, a site featuring tons of texts by Kafka in the English translation. Typed in and uploaded by P.M. Morin. language: English

La Pagina de Franz Kafka, Luis Rada's hommage to Franz Kafka, for him "el autor mas importante del siglo XX." Some interesting entries in his guestbook. language: Spanish

Kafka Page

Franz Kafka and his crew appreciate your comments!
last updated: 24 March 1997

Roger Ebert's review of Darren Aronofsky's PI
Aronofsky fan site (with various interviews)
All You Want and DON'T want to know about PI

Sinclair Lewis: Nobel Prize Speech and brief autobiography


An interview with Susan Daitch

This list of texts NOT strike your fancy? Come back this fall for 
e301 SINEMA!