Literature Seminars: The Love of Power and the Power of Love

Exploration of major themes in selected works of literature. Individual sections focus on topics such as war, justice, childhood, sex and gender, the supernatural, and the natural world. Emphasis on the development of writing skills and the analysis of fiction, poetry, drama, and nonfiction prose.

From Cupid’s arrows to mighty Aphrodite, the language of love is filled with images that underscore love’s irresistible power over human hearts. Beginning with Shakespeare’s account of the tragic love between two potent rulers in Antony and Cleopatra, this course grapples with questions about the ways in which love and power are entangled with one another: Why do literary lovers so often emphasize their own powerlessness? Are the pursuit of love and the pursuit of power mutually exclusive? How do rulers and authority figures attempt to regulate desire? As we analyze works like John Donne’s “To His Mistress Going to Bed,” Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, we will not only explore the power dynamics involved in erotic relationships, but attend to the ways in which these dynamics are bound up with the legacy of colonialism and slavery and inflected by race, class, gender, and sexuality.

Students who wish to enroll in a section of this seminar should participate in online preregistration, which opens at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, December 12, 2016 and closes promptly at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 12, 2017.

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MW 11:35am-12:50pm
WR, Hu