Starr, George A.
||TTh 3:30-5||221 Wheeler (starting 9/16)||
"Most Utopian authors are more concerned with selling readers on the social or political merits of their schemes than with the ""merely"" literary qualities of their writing. Although some Utopian writing has succeeded in the sense of making converts, and inspiring some readers to try to realize the ideal society, most has had limited practical impact, yet has managed to provoke readers in various ways�for instance, as a kind of imaginative fiction that comments on ""things as they are"" only indirectly, with fantasy and satire in varying doses. Among the critical questions posed by such material are the problematic status of fiction that is not primarily mimetic, but written in the service of some ulterior purpose; the shifting relationships between what is and what authors think might be or ought to be; how to create the new and strange other than by recombining the old and familiar; and so on. The reading list will include anti-Utopian as well as Utopian works, and possibly some writings by Malthus, Owen, Engels and Marx that do not present themselves as flights of fancy. Several films will be assigned (based on holdings in the Moffitt Library AVMC) and discussed (but not shown) in class, e.g. Lang�s Metropolis, Chaplin�s Modern Times, Gilliam�s Brazil and the like. Required writing will consist of a single 15-20-page term paper. Depending on enrollment, each student will be responsible for organizing and leading class discussion (probably teamed with another student) once during the semester. There will be no quizzes or exams, but seminar attendance and participation will be expected, and will affect grades.