Thursday, January 22, 2009

Day one. Opening lecture; the premise of the class: Literature and Sexuality; the endless taking of the class roster; Seinfeld "The Contest" screening; abrupt end of class.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

We will give the first 15 minutes of class over to a brief, focused discussion of Seinfeld's "The Contest" episode from the 4th season: come to class prepared to gloss some of the major themes/goals/targets of the show's producers /directors /writers / actors in creating this comic classic.  The rest of the class will be concern your weekend reading--your patient, careful, riveted imbibing of Nathanael West's Miss Lonelyhearts. As you are reading, you are taking notes, or, better, writing in the margins, (books, like some people, love to have their skin inscribed with your trace). What are you noting? Metaphors of sexuality, West's pathological exposé on American cultural pathologies; Misogyny; Masochism; Sadism; Personality dysfunctions--especially ones wedded to sexual problems; Religion and Sexuality (the mystery of "Ecstasy").  Don't walk into class without reading the book. Why? Will there be a quiz? An in-class writing exercise that will inspire fear and loathing?  Only time will tell.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

We will continue our discussion of Miss Lonelyhearts. Come to class with questions for your peers based on the reading!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

We will begin to screen Hal Hartley's Flirt in class; additionally, begin reading Tanizaki's Quicksand--the first 30 or so pages.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

We complete our screening and begin our discussion of Flirt.  Read to page 100 or so in Quicksand.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Over the weekend, finish Tanizaki's Quicksand; in class, we will end our discussion of Hartley's Flirt and begin our conversation regarding  Tanizaki's various and sundry kinks. Tanizaki's novel introduces us to a tale of lesbian desire, intrigue, and obsession. Are there differences between homo-erotic and hetero-erotic intrigues? Hal Hartley's Flirt tried to foreground how straight male flirts and gay male flirts maneuver. Many recent studies in Queer theory have alerted thinkers to the problems implicit in heteronormative world views. Does Tanizaki's novel add to our understanding of same sex desire--or, like some pulp fiction novels from the middle of the 20th century, is same-sex desire represented in sensationalistic fashion to arouse, delight, and distract?

Thursday, February 12, 2009
We will conclude our discussion of Quicksand and begin our screening of Peter Greenaway's The Pillow Book--the trailer for the film is here.  With Greenaway, obsessions with sexuality, Asia, books, etc. move into overdrive as some of the themes and images that became familiar in Quicksand are rendered cinematically through Greenaway's wicked, twisted, delicious, disturbing, provocative and upsetting lens.  Greenaway is that most literary of cineastes--his love and affection for the printed word is almost as acute as his deep obsession with the human body. In this film, bodies of ink fuse with writhing human bodies in ways that are shocking and erotic.  WARNING: elements of The Pillow Book, especially in the 2nd half of the film, are disturbing.  If you would like me to assign you a substitute film to screen, let me know ahead of time!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Screening and discussion of The Pillow Book and Tanizaki's Quicksand. In the time we have today, let's focus on the similarities with regard to the representation of sexuality that we can identify in the work of Junichiro Tanizaki and Peter Greenaway. 
Since you don't have any reading for today, you might want to start reading "Blade to the Heat" and "Young Valiant" for next week.

Thursday, February 19, 2009
Final screening and discussion of The Pillow Book.  Since you don't have any reading for today, you might want to start reading "Blade to the Heat" and "Young Valiant" for next week. Additionally, today you will
receive essay prompts for first Imagination Challenge Essay Extravaganza! Papers, 3-5 pages, due Friday, March 6, noon in the box of my office, Arts and Letters 273.

 Tuesday, February 24, 2009
[*] Today we enter the sweaty gymnasiums of Los Angeles for the heady mix of teatro and violence and sexuality that drive the dynamics of "Blade to the Heat"--the first play in THE HURT BUSINESS anthology. Also read "Young Valiant" for Thursday as we will complete BLADE on Thursday and move on to VALIANT next class.

Thursday, February 26, 2009
End, "Blade to the Heat"; Discussion of "Young Valiant." Today's lecture will focus on connections between Mayer's twin works--how, for instance "boxing" the sport, and "boxing" the spectacle figure in each work as a symbol/site of masculinity/machismo/desire.  Further considerations will be given as to what exactly Mayer has to teach us when it comes to Sex and Literature, Sexuality and the theatre.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Two assignments for Tuesday--I want you to walk into the room having finished Carlos Fuentes's AURA--don't freak: it is a bi-lingual edition and is actually HALF the size you think it is! In addition, this is one "sexy," disturbing book.  As with Greenaway, Fuentes introduces us to a world where the lines between textuality and sexuality are fused, tangled like legs and limbs in a metaphorical coupling.  Warning! Some elements of the book with regard to the Sacred and the sexual may disturb (Fuentes is like West in this regard), so please do read with an open mind.  Halfway thru your reading, make the time to merely page through the pictures of Kahlo's remarkable "Pillow Book" or diary.  Let the evocative tracings from Kahlo's hand serve as a backdrop or mise en scène for your reading.
Aura / Frida Kahlo diary

Thursday, March 5, 2009
Not TOO much reading today as I know you are busy revising your drafts for your first essay assignment due tomorrow at noon--god forbid you are still just composing your paper tonight as it is always better to let prose sit a day or two so that when you return to it, you read/revise with "EDITOR'S EYES": utterly different than AUTHORING EYES. For today's class, walk into the room having carefully read Carlos Fuentes's introduction to Kahlo's Diary.  Read in at least two ways: to understand what Fuentes has to teach you about Kahlo's remarkable, intimate opus; but also, as well, to parse the range of Fuentes's mind--you've read his novella, now you get to assess his range as a prose stylist and essayist: how is his style in non-fiction similar; how is it different from the erotic, haunting pacings of AURA.

Friday, March 6, 2009
Papers due; Arts and Letters 273, by noon.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009
end Aura; end Frida Kahlo Diary.
Human Diastrophism!

Thursday, March 12, 2009
end Human Diastrophism

Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Begin No One Will See Me Cry--please read to page 114.

Thursday, March 19, 2009
No One Will See Me Cry--read to page 169. Big surprise today! Be sure to come to class!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Walk into the room having finished No
One Will See Me Cry.

Thursday, March 26, 2009
NO CLASS IN THE MORNING!!! INSTEAD we will go to the screening of Charles Vidor's GILDA at MCASD in the evening:

THURSDAY, MARCH 26, 2009 > 7 PM
MCASD co-presents Charles Vidor's classic film, Gilda, with San Diego State University's Department of English & Comparative Literature. Sex-symbol par excellence Rita Hayworth burns up the screen with sensuality to spare in her signature role as a femme fatale in this 1946 film noir classic. With its cabal of hoods and Nazis, the real magic of Gilda rests on the sexy shoulders of the one-and-only Hayworth who juggles the affections of the men in her life (played by Glenn Ford and George Macready) as a love triangle unfolds against the backdrop of an illegal casino in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Professor Bill Nericcio, chair of SDSU's Department of English & Comparative Literature, will introduce the film and participate in a post-screening Q&A session with MCASD Film Curator Neil Kendricks.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Spring Break!  Enjoy your respite from our class! Have fun!

Thursday, April 2, 2009
Spring Break continued!

Tuesday, April  7, 2009
Herculine Barbin, our first hermaphrodite of the semester, looms on the horizon--come into class today having read to page 115, the entire memoir of Herculine Barbin (a figure whose unique body makes for quite a stir at the convent she finds herself housed within).

April  9, 2009
For today, read the "dossier" of findings compiled by Foucault on Herculine Barbin--pages 119 to 154.   Note: you are free to read but NOT COMPELLED to read the novella, A Scandal at the Convent by Oscar Panizza. I would only highly recommend this reading to students who intend to write a paper on Herculine Barbin.
Today, you will receive your second imagination challenge (aka, the big paper) prompts.

Tuesday, April  14, 2009
Joy of the Desolate

, April  16, 2009
Joy of the Desolate--Oliver Mayer visits our class today!

Tuesday, April  21, 2009
Please, Jericho Brown. Enter the room having read, devoured, experienced the searing words of Jericho Brown--watch for the Donny Hathaway references!!! Here's one of the songs that figure in the novel.  Consider the relationship between music and sexuality as you read these pieces--how it takes a poet to make lit, music, and sex fuse!

, April  23, 2009
Please, Jericho Brown. In-class visit by the author!  It would be very cool if one or two of you memorized poems to perform for the class and Jericho Brown--email me!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Tuesday, April  28, 2009
Chris Ware

, April  30, 2009
Chris Ware; begin The Piano Teacher

Tuesday, May 5, 2009
The Piano Teacher

Thursday, May 7, 2009
The Piano Teacher, review

Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Final In-Class Imagination Challenge Festival Event Day--don't be late! You snooze, you lose!!!