SoSe 15: Voice and Media: Drama and Theory
This course explores how the theoretical concept of "voice" manifests in literary dramatic and prose texts. The first half of the semester will focus on theoretical texts ranging from Plato and Aristotle to Freud and Derrida in order to explore how often murky concept of "voice" influences theories of literary genre, as well as underlying beliefs about language organization, the self, the body, the community, consciousness or unconsciousness, and presence. The second part of the semester will encourage students to think about how literary texts signal the effects of "voice" in written form, specifically through an analysis of the overlap between drama (as relying upon conventions of the printed page to give the effect of live, spoken speech) and prose (as transforming these dramatic conventions into a novelistic form organized by narrator's description and character's dialogue).
This course will serve as an introduction to literary theory, as well as an introduction to modern drama. This course has two goals: 1) to provide students with an intensive introduction to major works in literary theory; and 2) to enable students to think critically about how questions of "voice" organize the generic relationships among literary drama, prose, and poetry.
The course is designed to help students develop the close reading and critical writing skills needed to express their ideas about literature. Through short response papers, longer essays, class discussion and presentations, students will cultivate the tools necessary to the practice and methodology of literary studies. Students are highly encouraged to present papers and attend the Dahlem Humanities Center workshop on "Voice and Media" at the end of the year.
Potential primary theoretical texts include Plato, The Republic (380 BCE); Aristotle, The Poetics (335 BCE); Husserl, Logical Investigations (1901-1902); Heidegger, Being and Time (1922); Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams (1900); Ferdinand de Saussure, Course in General Linguistics (1916); Derrida, Speech and Phenomena (1967); and Mladen Dolar, The Voice and Nothing More (2006). Potential literary texts include Robert Browning, Dramatic Idylls (1879); Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House (1879); Henry James, The American (novel 1877, play 1890); George Bernard Shaw, Heartbreak House (1920); Gertrude Stein, Four Saints in Three Acts (1927); and Samuel Beckett, Play (1963) and Film (1964).close
14 Class schedule