curiosity challenge
grading sheet sample (how you will be evaluated)


E301: The Psychological Novel 
Sexy Beasts or Freud's Bastard Children
W. A. Nericcio | Associate Professor |
Taylor Mitchell | Graduate Teaching Assistant / MA candidate | 

Love him or hate him, that cigar-chomping, sex-mad, disciple-craving genius from Vienna, the one and only Sigmund Freud, knew something when it came to figuring out the deliciously mixed-up minds of neurotic girls and boys-call them insane, mad, crazy, hysterical, etc, he knew his way around a psychopath. This new and improved 2005 version of the E301 Psychological Novel class has been re-titled and re-imagined with books, movies, art, and photography that either owe their existence to Freud (aka Siggy's Bastard Children), or, alternatively, are made richer by coming into close contact with Freud's ideas, theories, suspicions, and questions (aka Freud's Sexy Beasts).  So we will read works by Freud--the DORA case history where Freud figures the answer to a befuddled neurotic hotty's problems are a kiss on HIS lips; watch films by Hitchcock (SPELLBOUND) and others; scan pages and pages of canvases and prints by Remedios Varo and Van Gogh, and others to be announced. This general education class is OPEN to all majors; we will try to answer to the demands of bookish, nebbish English Lit nerds AND the unwashed, illiterate, haters of culture for whom an encounter with a book, or a trip to an art gallery requires therapy!  In short, come one, come all--you are in for one hell of an experiment.  There will be one paper; several shorter in-class assignments; an optional presentation; and other surprises.  Comparative Literature majors who have already taken E301 are welcome to take this class and receive credit for it as CompLit 499 or English 499 Special Study.

Our grand summer seminar, our adventure in intellectual inquiry, begins with the unspectacular premise that the human animal is a curious species. Evidence for this banal contention will be provided by various human aesthetic artifacts including short stories, novels, sequential art (graphic narrative), documentary films and movies. What becomes clear in these varied media is that the curiosity of Homo Sapiens manifests itself in creative acts of art wherein men and women themselves figure as the focus of these creative exercises. But we can't just leave it at that. Looking closer, we find that the men and women we meet in books, films, art etc. are not exactly like the ones we meet in elevators, bars, churches, street corners and shopping malls. These men and women are more honest, more troubled, less in control and utterly MORE interesting. Veils cast aside, these men and women reveal themselves to be a splendid cast of deranged and intoxicatingly honest informers, revealing the damaged psyches that drive their day to day existence. In these people and in these creative works we come to better understand the hidden and obvious psychological tattoos that permanently mark and determine what the ancients called the soul, what Freud called the "unconscious" and what we usually call the human mind.

DISCLAIMER: 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.


Reading and class discussion make up a significant portion of the class; attendance helps--you won't pass without it. If you intend to miss more than three classes, you might think about taking another class. 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? One short imagination challenge (2 to 3 pages); one researched imagination challenge (5-8 pages), a final exam on the last day of classes and (bleah) quizzes--if and only if the occupants of the class decide to perform with high school level indifference.


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 for eviction.


Quizzes, Attendance, Participation 40%
Essays 35%
Final Exam 24%
Chutzpah, Ganas, Drive 1%

Office Hours
Professor Nericcio--My office hours are from Tuesdays 11 to 1:30 in Adams Humanities 4117--please do note that I KEEP my office hours (If I am not there on Tuesdays, I am either away momentarily answering the call of nature or dead). If these hours are inconvenient, do not hesitate to call me at 594.1524 either to schedule an appointment or discuss your questions via telephone. My email address is

Taylor Mitchell, GTA--Ms. Mitchell's office hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 1pm at Gateway Center West, room 301F. Mitchell's email address is

Required Books

Available at Aztec Shops and KB Books

also: ONE LATE ADDITION The Essential Man Ray 4.98

Required Book to be purchased in Class
Young Valiant in The collected Plays of Oliver Mayer $10

Required Films 
screened absolutely free of charge in class

La Jetee by Chris Marker
Spellbound by Alfred Hitchcock
Sexy Beast by Jonathan Glazer
Un chien andalou by Salvador Dali and Luis Buñuel