Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG485H1S - L0101

ENG485H1S L0101  M2-4
Fragments: A Lover's Genre
Professor Michael Cobb

Office Phone:
416-946-3494
Office Location:
Jackman Humanities Building, Room TBA

Brief Description of Course:
Must we use fragments to express love? Although a grand and ubiquitous emotion, we often seem to find love among partial and or degraded texts; notebooks; diaries; tentative thoughts; aphorisms; text messages; tweets; status updates; Instagram captions; lyrical poetry; ruins. What does fragmentary form reveal about love? Is it a fleeting, always-a-bit-lost feeling? Is love ever whole? Is love a small, minor emotion? Not epic? We'll ask these and other questions of Roland Barthes, Sappho, Samuel Coleridge, Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, Anne Carson, Frank O'Hara, Gwendolyn Brooks, Walter Benjamin, Susan Sontag, Maggie Nelson, and Hilton Als (among others). We'll also draw on examples from all sorts of popular and fine cultures from antiquity, from modernity, from now.

Required Reading: Roland Barthes, A Lover's Discourse; Anne Carson's translation of Sappho, If Not Winter; Walter Benjamin, One-Way Street; Gwendolyn Brooks, Maud Martha; Anne Carson, Autobiography of Red; Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts; Hilton Als, White Girls; and selections from Coleridge, Dickinson, Eliot, and Sontag.

First Three Authors/Texts: Barthes, Sappho, Benjamin.

Method of Instruction: Seminar discussions.

Method of Evaluation: TBA.

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