Phil 288gp: Love and its Representations in Western Literature, Film and Philosophy Spring 2016


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PHIL 288gp: Love and its Representations in Western Literature, Film and Philosophy Spring 2016

Course #49356R TuTh 9:30-10:50 P.M. THH 301

Carries General Education credit in Category GE-B (Humanistic Inquiry) and in Category GE-H (Traditions and Historical Foundations)

Professor Edwin McCann

School of Philosophy MHP-205, mc. 0451,

Office hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 5:00 p.m. and by appointment.

Course Overview:

Love is one of the principal sources of value in most people’s lives. To love and to be loved ranks with some of the most basic needs, almost on a level with physical well-being; and for many people it is a basic element in their sense of their own identity. It is not surprising, therefore, that in the development of the Western cultural tradition there has been a central concern with love as a thematic motif or an object of investigation. In this course we will track some of the more important changes in the treatment of love through the course of development of Western culture, focussing on particularly influential works that constitute high points in this development, including works in the (relatively) new medium of film. We will look at love as a cultural artifact forged over a long period and in a variety of different cultural contexts; perhaps we will emerge from this investigation with a better of idea of what love is, and isn’t, and why we should want it, or not.

Course Objectives:
1. To introduce students to some of key works that have shaped the European and American cultural inheritance. We will be reading works by such authors as Plato, Ovid, Dante, Shakespeare, and Austen.

2. To help students develop critical and analytical skills through close reading and analysis of complex texts, and communication skills in both contribution to group discussion and in argumentative and critical writing in essay form.

3. To demonstrate that critical analysis and attention to the historical development and cultural role of key concepts (in this case, love) can bring us to a deeper understanding of the concept.

4. To provide the tools for analyzing the way different media of representation and communication (philosophical dialogues, theological works, epic poems, dramatic works, and films) shape our understanding of the underlying meaning of the work.

Course Requirements:
1. Regular attendance at lectures and your assigned discussion section and participation in the discussion section. Each lecture meeting will have a Short Writing period of 5-7 minutes, and the Short Writing papers will be used for recording attendance and participation in lecture (5% of course grade), and attendance and particpation in discussion sections counts for an additional 10% of the course grade. In total, attendance and participation counts for 15% of the course grade.
2. Five unannounced quizzes on the reading and/or film viewing due that day. Quizzes will be administered at the beginning of class and covers the material listed for that day. The best four of five quiz grades will count for 15% of the course grade.
3. Three critical/analytical papers, length 3-4 pages (1500 -2000 words) each. Each counts for 15% of the course grade, so the three papers taken together count for 45% of the course grade. Papers are due on February 8, March 7, and April 18. (See policy on late papers below.)
3. Final examination: in-class essay exam, questions distributed in advance. Final exam counts for 25% of course grade.

Course books:

1. C. D. C. Reeve, ed. Plato on Love. Hackett. ISBN: 978-0-87220-788-2.

2. Ovid, Metamorphoses. Tr. Stanley Lombardo. Hackett. ISBN: 978-1-60384-307-2.

3. Abelard and Heloise, The Letters and Other Writings Tr. William Levitan. Hackett. ISBN: 978-0-87220-875-9.

4. Joseph Bédier, The Romance of Tristan and Iseut. Tr. Edward J. Gallagher. Hackett. ISBN: 978-1-60384-900-5.

5. Marie de France, The Lays of Marie de France. Tr. Edward J. Gallagher. Hackett. ISBN: 978-1-60384-188-7

6. Dante Alighieri. The Portable Dante. Tr. and ed. Mark Musa. Penguin Classics.

ISBN: 978-0142437544.

7. William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (Arden Shakespeare: Second Series). Arden.

ISBN 978-1903436417

8. William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Arden Shakespeare: Second Series). Arden. ISBN 978-1903436608

9. Jane Austen, The Annotated Emma by Jane Austen, annotated and edited by David Shapard. Anchor. ISBN: 978-0307390776 

10. Soren Kierkegaard, Either/Or: A Fragment of Life. Tr. Alastair Hannay. Penguin Classics, 1992. ISBN: 978-0140445770

11. Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness. Tr. Hazel Barnes. Washingon Square Press, ISBN: 978-0671867805

12. Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex. Tr. Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany- Chevallier. Vintage. ISBN: 978-0307277787

Schedule of readings and lectures:

Note: reading/viewing should be done by the date indicated

Week one

1 Tu Jan 12 Introduction and overview of course
2 Th Jan 14 1940s Hollywood: The greatest love film ever?

Viewing: Casablanca (dir. Michael Curtiz; Warner Bros. 1942)

Week two

3 Tu Jan 19 Classical Antiquity: Plato on love and madness

Reading: Plato, Phaedrus [ca. 380s BCE] in Reeve, pp. 88-153.

4 Th Jan 21 Classical Antiquity: Socrates, the ladder of love, and the Form of Beauty

Reading: Plato, Symposium [ca. 380s BCE], in Reeve pp. 26-87.

Week 3

5 Tu Jan 26 Late Antiquity: Ovid on the transformations of nature and love

Reading: Ovid, Metamorphoses Bk. I—includes the stories of Apollo and Daphne, and Io in Lombardo pp. 5-29

Bk. II lines 445-593—the story of Callisto in Lombardo pp. 45-49

Bk. III lines 147-562—the stories of Diana and Actaeon, Jupiter and Semele, and Narcissus and Echo in Lombardo pp. 69-81

Bk. IV lines 1-456, 623-668—the stories of the daughters of Minyas: Pyramus and Thisbe, Mars and Venus, Lycothoe and the sun, Clytie and the sun, and Salmacis and Hermaphroditus; and the story of Cadmus and Harmonia in Lombardo pp. 91-104, 109-110

Bk. V lines 385-657—the story of Ceres, Proserpina and Pluto in Lombardo pp. 133-140

6 Th Jan 28 Late Antiquity: Ovid and Virgil on the derangements of love.

Reading: Ovid, Metamorphoses Bk. VI lines 473-780—the story of Procne and Philomela in Lombardo pp. 161-169

Bk. VII lines 1-485, 755-960—the stories of Jason and Medea and Procris and Cephalus in Lombardo pp. 175-188, 196-202

Bk. IX lines 518-915—the stories of Byblis and her brother, and of Iphis and Ianthe in Lombardo pp. 252-263

Bk. X—the stories of Orpheus and Eurydice, Cyparissus and the stag, and the Songs of Orpheus (including the stories of Pygmalion, Myrrha and Cinryas, Venus and Adonis, and Atalanta and Hippomenes) in Lombardo pp. 267-291

Bk. XIV lines 1-149—the stories of Glaucus, Circe and Scylla, and Aeneas and Dido in Lombardo pp. 385-389;

Virgil, Aeneid Bk. IV—Dido and Aeneas

Virgil, Aeneid Bk. VI—Aeneas’s journey to the Underworld

Week 4

7 Tu Feb 2 Illicit love and Christian duty

Reading: Levitan, Letters of Abelard and Heloise [letters written (in Latin) ca. 1128 CE; first published in Paris in 1616 CE] (pp. 1-170)


The Calamities of Peter Abelard (pp. 10-20, 38-46)

First Letter: Heloise to Abelard (pp. 49-62)

Second Letter: Abelard to Heloise (pp. 63-67)

Third Letter: Heloise to Abelard (pp. 71-84)

Fourth Letter: Abelard to Heloise (pp. 85-104)

Fifth Letter: Heloise to Abelard (pp. 105-106)

Sixth Letter: Abelard to Heloise (pp. 127-143, 149-170)
8 Th Feb 4 Courtly love: chivalry and the invention of romantic love

Reading: Bédier, Romance of Tristan and Iseult [12th century CE; Bédier’s compilation, 1900 CE] (pp. 3-203)

Monday February 8, 11:59 p.m.: First paper due

Week 5

9 Tu Feb 9 Courtly love: short stories/songs

Reading: The Lays of Marie de France [12th century CE] (Gallagher pp. 3-85)

10 Th Feb 11 Poetry in the ‘sweet new style’: Dante’s idealized love of Beatrice

Reading: Dante, Vita Nuova ([1295 CE] (Musa pp. 589-649)

Week 6

11 Tu Feb 16 Dante’s Comedy I: Dante lost in the dark wood and the journey downward led by Virgil; how appetite distorts love

Reading: Dante, Inferno [early 14th century CE] Cantos I-XVII (Musa, pp. 3-94)

12 Th Feb 18 Dante’s Comedy II: Dante in the depths; love perverted by violence, fraud and betrayal

Reading: Dante, Inferno Cantos XVIII-XXXIV (Musa, pp. 94-191)

Week 7

13 Tu Feb 23 Dante’s Comedy III: Dante and the healing of love through the love of healing

Reading: Dante, Purgatory Cantos I-III, XVI-XVIII, XXV-XXXIII (Musa, pp. 195-212, 281-297, 334-387)

14 Th Feb 25 Dante from the earthly paradise towards the heavenly paradise

Reading: Dante, Paradise Cantos I-V, XVII (Musa, pp. 391-419, ) Dante and the beatific vision: Love and the cosmos.

Reading: Dante, Paradise Cantos XVIII-XXXIII (Musa, pp. 496-585)

Week 8

15 Tu Mar 1 A Renaissance comedy of love.

Reading: Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream [1595-1597 CE] (pp. 5-128); Appendix One, Ovid’s story of Pyramus and Thisbe (pp. 149-153)

16 Th Mar 3 A Renaissance tragedy of love. (1597 CE)

Reading: Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (pp. 81-231); Appendix Two, Extracts from Brooke (pp. 239-280)

Monday March 7, 11:59 p.m.: Second paper due

Week 9

17 Tu Mar 8 Romeo and Juliet go to the movies

Viewing: Romeo and Juliet (dir. Franco Zeffirelli, Paramount, 1968); Romeo and Juliet (dir. George Cukor, MGM, 1936); Romeo + Juliet (dir. Baz Luhrmann, 20th Century Fox, 1996); West Side Story (dir. Robert Wise, choreographer Jerome Robbins, composer Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, MGM, 1961)

18 Th Mar 10 Love, matchmaking, and social class in Jane Austen’s Emma [1816]

Reading: Emma Vol. 1, chapters 1-18 in Shapard, pp. 2-266 [before you panic: in this edition the text of the novel is on every other page, with the facing page consisting of the annotations, so the actual pages assigned amount to half of the page total given]

Spring recess Mar 14-20 No classes

Week 10

19 Tu Mar 22 Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill enter the picture.

Reading: Emma Vol. II, chapters 1-13 in Shapard, pp. 268-472

20 Th Mar 24 Catastrophe on Box Hill.

Reading: Emma Vol II, chapters 14-18; Vol. III, chapters 1-10 in Shapard pp. 474-714

Week 11

21 Tu Mar 29 True love, or at least, true marriage.

Reading: Emma Vol. III, chapters 11-19 in Shapard pp. 716-862

Film viewing: Clueless (dir. Amy Heckerling, Paramount 1995)
22 Th Mar 31 Kierkegaard’s Johannes on the love affair as a work of art

Reading: selections from Kierkegaard’s Either/Or [1843] : ,The Preface’; ‘Diapsalmata’; ‘Crop Rotation’ ‘The Diary of a Seducer’ in Hannay pp. 27-37, 43-57, 227-241, 243-317

Week 12

23 Tu Apr 5 Kierkegaard’s seducer’s denouement and Judge William’s rejoinder. Reading: ‘The Diary of a Seducer’; ‘The Aesthetic Validity of Marriage’ in Hannay pp. 317-376, 383-474.
24 Th Apr 7 Sartre on the nature of consciousness and free choice. Reading: Sartre, Being and Nothingness pp. 9-44, 49-85Week 13

Tu Apr12 Sartre on bad faith; The Look and The Other. Reading: Sartre, Being and Nothingness pp. 86-116, 340-400

Th Apr 14 Sartre on value and concrete relations with others: the project of love and the project of sexual desire. Reading: Sartre, Being and Nothingness pp. 133-146, 471-553

Monday April 18 11:59 p.m.: Third paper due

Week 14

Tu Apr 19 A foundational feminist view of love and sex. Reading: De Beauvoir The Second Sex Introduction; Vol. II Introduction and Part 1, Chapter 1 ‘Childhood’ (selection); Vol. II Part 2 Chapter 10 ‘Woman’s Situation and Character’ and Vol. II Part 3 Chapter 12 ‘The Woman in Love’, Chapter 13 ’The Mystic’, Chapter 14 ‘The Independent Woman’, and Conclusion pp. 3-17, 283-284, 638-664, 683-766.
Th Apr 21 Love Boats I: Refinding love in marriage

Viewing: L’Atalante (dir. Jean Vigo, 1934)

Week 15

Tu Apr 26 Love Boats II: The fall of (a) man.

Viewing: The Lady Eve (dir. Preston Sturges, Paramount, 1941)

Th Apr 28 Love Boats III: BIG love on a BIG boat in a BIG movie

Viewing: Titanic (dir. James Cameron, Paramount and 20th Century Fox, 1997)

Tuesday May 10: FINAL EXAM, 8:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.

Course policies

Students with disabilities

Any student who has registered with the office of Disability Services and Programs (DSP) and who has been identified by DSP as needing specific accommodations will gladly be afforded those accommodations. Please meet with the instructor as early as possible in the semester to discuss appropriate accommodations. I am happy to work with you to tailor course requirements to your specific needs subject to considerations of fairness for all students in the class.

Academic integrity

Be sure to familiarize yourself with Section 11 of SCampus

( If you are unsure about what constitutes a violation of academic integrity, please see the instructor or your Teaching Assistant. Any violation of academic integrity standards will result in a grade of ‘F’ for the piece of work or, for more serious violations, ‘F’ for the course, and a referral to Judicial Affairs, so please be very careful about this.

Paper submission, deadlines and format

Please submit your papers through Blackboard; your TA may ask you to directly submit to him or her an electronic version via e-mail and/or a printed hardcopy as well, but be sure to also submit an electronic version through Blackboard. Please format your papers as follows: at least 12 point font, double-spaced, at least one inch margins all around, your name and your section meeting time on the top right hand corner of the first page. All electronically submitted papers must have a filename of the format ‘ 288 paper topic .doc’ (or ’.docx’ or ‘.pdf‘) where is replaced by your name as it appears in the course roster. The University strongly recommends that you do not include your student ID number or any other possibly sensitive identifying information on your papers or any other correspondence with instructors; as long as you include your name as it appears on the course roster we will be able to identify you. Papers submitted after the due date will receive a reduction in grade of one notch (e.g. a paper that would merit the grade of ‘A-‘ will receive a ‘B+’) for each week past the due date. Example: if an A- paper is submitted anytime after the due date but before the next week, it will earn a B+; if it is submitted within a week after that, it will earn a B. Documented illness or emergency or specific disability accommodations constitute exceptions, which will be discussed on a case-by-case basis.

Classroom protocol

All students (and the professor) have a right to a classroom free of distractions. To accomplish this our classroom will be device-free (no use of laptops, cellphones, tablets, or other electronic devices) and distraction-free (no reading material other than the course material currently being discussed, no extended conversations, etc.). Violators will be asked to leave the classroom immediately and to not return that day; repeat violations will incur grade penalties. The use of laptops and other devices in the classroom is not only rude and disrespectful to the lecturer (which it is), it also hinders learning for the user and for nearby students; see Sana, Weston, and Cepeda, ‘Laptop multitasking hinders classroom learning for both users and nearby peers’ in Computers and Education Vol. 62 (2013) pp. 24-31. If you have become accustomed to taking notes on a laptop or tablet and are concerned that the device ban will adversely affect your note-taking, you should read this short article, which should allay your anxiety on this point:


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