What makes loss so rich in imaginative gains? We will pursue this question across verbal and visual media from Western and non-Western cultures, from antiquity to the present. Central among our concerns will be the role of loss in forming selves and societies. Whether as a plot device or as a set of emotions, loss is complicated. From Walt Whitman forging a personal connection with a public figure, to Shakespeare’s Hamlet struggling to transform unfocused grief into purposeful revenge, to Virginia Woolf’s depiction of a mother seeking to remake a lost life out of fragments, we will see how loss simultaneously challenges and provokes our efforts at making sense of our selves and our worlds, both in life and in art.
Students who wish to enroll in this seminar should participate in online preregistration, December 7 at 9:00 a.m. - January 9 at 5:00 p.m.