English 250

Research Seminar: Eros and Expression

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
4 Fall 2011 Turner, James Grantham
Turner, James
Thurs. 3:30-6:30 108 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Plato: The Symposium; Ovid: Metamorphoses; Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra; Cleland: Fanny Hill: Or, Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure


At the core, highly selective readings from the most influential explorations of Eros, desire, and sexuality: Plato’s Symposium and passages from Phaedrus, episodes from Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura and Ovid’s Metamorphosis A (including Narcissus and Pygmalion), Lucian’s Erotes (sometimes attributed to an imitator), Montaigne’s essay “On Some Verses of Virgil,” Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, Cleland’s Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (“Fanny Hill”), Mozart and Da Ponte’s Don Giovanni (in live performance), Kierkegaard’s “The Immediate Erotic Stages or the Musical Erotic” (in Either/Or), and the Schumann/Heine Dichterliebe. An even more selective list of twentieth-century essays may include Freud, Derrida, Foucault, and Kristeva. Texts will be read in translation with the original on hand for comparison. Participants will pursue and present their own research projects in the light of issues that arise in these texts – for example, you might be working on Petrarchism and its expropriation by women poets, or Enlightenment libertinism, or Keats, or Lacan’s “sublime.” I could circulate drafts of my own current projects, on the “erotic Renaissance” and responses to the art object, or the persistence of the physical in neo-Platonism, or evolving conceptions of “Romance” including Eric Rohmer’s last film, Les Amours d’Astrée et de Céladon.

Don Giovanni will be seen live at San Francisco Opera (subsidized by the James D. Hart Chair); other texts and sound recordings available via bSpace.

The requirement fulfilled by this course will be determined by the instructor based on the student's work.

Other Recent Sections of This Course

Back to Semester List