Technologies of Heartbreak (LIT2409.01)

Manuel Gonzales

Reading itself is a mystery — that these small black and white symbols on a page or screen should be able to pass along information, much less evoke specific emotions in a reader is ludicrous and makes no reasonable sense (not to me, anyway) — and this class hopes to explore and pull at the loose threads of this mystery with a focus on writing that has the potential to break a reader’s heart. What does break a reader’s heart? And why? And how? We will also look at our own various points of view, and then look at this same work through other theoretical lenses in order to see how our own perspectives or the perspectives of others might influence whether our hearts are broken, or if we’re left cold and unfeeling. This class hopes to make you all cry a little bit at least once because of reading, but barring that, it hopes to begin a compelling discussion on how writing can (and often does) manipulate our emotional systems, and what it means that this is something writers aim for and readers seek out. Potential texts include Mrs Bridge by Evan S Connell, Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko, Writers & Lovers by Lily King, Shards by Ismet Prcic, and Self Portrait with Boy by Rachel Lyon, as well as stories by Amy Hempel, Claire Vaye Watkins, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Ramona Ausubel, Deborah Eisenberg, Helen Viramontes, as well as poetry from writers such as Ada Limon, Ross Gay, and Camille Dungy, and more, so much more!

Learning Outcomes:
*To find yourself trying your best to keep the tears still quivering in your eye sockets lest your roommate or the stranger across the dining hall notice you're crying and ask you what is wrong when really it's just a very good, heartbreaking story
*To define heartbreak
*To attend to the master manipulations of master crafters of stories and novels
*To question and study how imagined worlds and people can engender real emotional responses

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 4
T/F 10:30AM - 12:20PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: 2000 , All courses , Four Credit , Fully In-Person , Literature , Updates