Re-Creating the Classics (LIT2318.02)

Marguerite Feitlowitz

A contemporary drama critic recently wrote: “Whenever you return to something—to a play, a song, a scene—you bring your past with you. And not just what you’vebeen through and figured out, but what your culture has been through and figured out too, and what you are both still going through.

How is it that a work written hundreds or thousands of years ago can resonate so strongly, be so necessary, provocative, or disturbing that contemporary artists are impelled to re-create the original in order to address intellectual, cultural and/or political crises? In this course, we’ll take a new look at a variety of classics that have spawned visionary, indeed radical, retellings that combine elements of both homage and imaginative critique.

The course is divided into phases, or “movements,” that will unfold logically and organically. Each “movement” will focus on a particular pair, or cluster, of creative and critical texts: the Icarus story in myth, painting, and poetry; Sophocles’ Antigone and Griselda Gambaro’s Antígona Furiosa written in response to the last Argentine dictatorship which “disappeared” some 30,000 individuals; Jane Eyre and Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea; and Shakespeare’s The Tempest, as re-interpreted in the light of groundbreaking criticism and theory, and in Auden’s The Sea and the Mirror.

Our guiding principle is this: Every re-reading of a classic is a voyage (enthralling, perilous, transforming) of discovery.

Learning Outcomes:

Delivery Method: Entirely remote (synchronous)
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 4
T/F 1:40PM-5:20PM (2nd seven weeks)
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: All courses , Literature
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