Adler, Didion, and Sontag: Personal Politics (LIT2378.01)

Kathleen Alcott

Striking out from the male-dominated world of New Journalism in the 1960s and 70s came Renata Adler, Joan Didion, and Susan Sontag, women whose reportage, fiction, and criticism defined the zeitgeist. Borrowing from traditions in one form to influence others, each used a uniquely female lens to explore ideas about American imperialism, protest politics, Washington corruption, youth culture, epistemology, and the patriarchal education of women. Though their political views ran from centrist to far left, their sexual lives from heteronormative monogamy to bisexuality and polyamory, all asked questions about the interplay between their personal and political lives, commenting upon the ways that, as John Berger put it, “Men act, but women appear.” Students in this class will study their narrative nonfiction, journalism, short fiction and novels, as well as film, and essay, emerging with an informed sense of the ways that literature, in times of political turmoil, may not only comment upon a cultural transformation, but influence its trajectory.

Prerequisites: None.
Credits: 4
T 6:30pm - 8:20pm; Th 6:30pm - 8:20pm
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency:
This course is categorized as 2000, All courses, Four Credit, Kathleen Alcott, Literature, Monday and/or Thursday Afternoons, Tuesday and/or Friday Afternoons.