English R1A

Reading and Composition: Perspectivisms

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
10 Fall 2007 Chris Eagle
TTh 12:30-2 203 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

"Descartes, Rene. Meditations on First Philosophy

Kant, Immanuel. �On a Supposed Right to Lie Because of Philanthropic Concerns�

Kurosawa, Ikira. Rashomon

Lakoff, George. Metaphors We Live By

Linklater, Richard. Waking Life

Plato. The Republic

Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver�s Travels

Wilde, O. The Importance of Being Earnest, �The Decay of Lying�

Woolf, V. To the Lighthouse"


" This course approaches literary works from a philosophical standpoint, taking up certain longstanding philosophical debates about the nature of Truth and Reality, and applying those debates to works of literature and to films. We will spend the first few weeks familiarizing ourselves with some of these debates through brief selected readings in the history of philosophy by Plato, Descartes, and Nietzsche. There are two guiding questions to this course. The first is whether Truth is an objective viewpoint on our world or a set of subjective interpretations. The second is the role that �lying� plays in society, socially, politically, and artistically. We will discuss these ideas in relation to works by Oscar Wilde, Plato, Nietzsche, and Virginia Woolf. In the case of Plato and Wilde, I anticipate that we will explore what it means for Wilde (vs. what it means for Plato) to write in the form of dialogues, a conversational form which embraces a multiplicity of perspectives. Likewise, I expect that we will come to appreciate the �philosophy� behind different writing styles and literary techniques. In the last few weeks of the semester, we will take up these same issues in films, focusing on films that deal with issues of perspective such as Kurosawa�s Rashomon.

Our method throughout will be in-class close analyses of the novels, dialogues, and films. We will focus on developing your close-reading skills and improving your writing through weekly short essays, as well as a revision process of all longer papers. A portion of in-class time will also be spent �workshopping� each other�s writing. While 1A is primarily designed to improve your writing, it is also a seminar, and so I anticipate lively discussion in which all members take an equal part in the conversation. "

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