English 100

Junior Seminar: """The Parasite"" - Dyads in Modern and Postmodern Literature "

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
12 Fall 2008 Clowes, Erika
Clowes, Erika
TTh 2-3:30 101 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Beckett, Samuel: How It Is; Endgame; Conrad, Joseph: The Secret Sharer; McCarthy, Cormac: The Road; Nabokov, Vladimir: Pale Fire; Norris, Frank: McTeague; and a selection of critical essays from Alain Badiou, Sigmund Freud, Ren? Girard, Jacques Lacan, Eve Sedgwick, Slavoj Zizek and others.


Jacques Lacan has said that ?the first object of desire is to be recognized by the other.? The subject does not desire autonomously; who he is and what he wants are the by-products of a social relation. In this course, we will focus on perverse manifestations of desire, in which the protagonist?s inextricable bond with the other is aggressive and parasitic . . . not just symbiotic or mutually constitutive. How does this perverse relation reflect the dominant concerns of the modern and postmodern eras about the status of the subject? How does it affect the subject?s engagement with sexuality, creativity, agency, authority? How does the dyad work as a literary device to yield information about the protagonist?s interior? Our observation of the ?parasite? dynamic will allow us to apply critical theories of subjectivity and desire to various narrative forms, and in turn, to use fictional constructions in narrative to inform and modify the theoretical conception of the constructed subject.

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