Spring 2019 features four PAL Certificate Courses:

  • Neil McWilliam: The Symbolist Movement in the Arts and European Thought.
    ARTHIST541S
  • Thomas Pfau: The Melancholy of Art.
    ENG 890S.05/German 890S.01/LIT 890S.02.
  • Corina Stan: Culture, Civilization, World (Literature) 
    ENG 590 (cross-listed in Literature, Romance Studies, and German)
  • Jacqueline Waeber: Aurality and Music In Cinema
    Music S790

 

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Neil McWilliam: The Symbolist Movement in the Arts and European Thought.
ARTHIST541S

Thursdays 10:05 a.m. to 12:35 p.m. in Smith Warehouse Bay 9, A290 (26)

This course investigates the relationship linking Symbolist aesthetics and practice with currents in European philosophy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Topics covered include the reaction against Positivism; aesthetic idealism and the Platonic tradition; the influence of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche on artists and writers; Symbolism and mysticism (Theosophy, Rosicrucianism, the occult); Symbolism and the Catholic revival; Art nouveau and theories of psychology; the anarchist impulse. Emphasis on visual arts in France, England and Germany, viewed from the perspective of a broader intellectual history; focus on the relationship between word and image in Symbolist poetics. Writers examined include Oscar Wilde, Joris-Karl Huysmans, Stéphane Mallarmé and Georges Rodenbach. Syllabus available on request.  If you have questions, please contact Professor McWilliam, <n.mcwilliam@duke.edu>

Thomas Pfau. The Melancholy of Art.
ENG 890S.05/German 890S.01/LIT 890S.02.

Our focus will not be on melancholy as a “theme” in art but, rather, on the inherently melancholic character of art and representation in the modern era. It is no accident that the nexus of art and melancholy becomes pronounced just as the idea of aesthetic autonomy constitutes itself as a surrogate for the disintegrating, metaphysical and cosmological frameworks at the threshold of the sixteenth century. – Thus, we will consider some artworks, such as Albrecht Dürer’s “Melancholia I” (1514) and Lorenzo Lotto, which offer a secular echo of the Pietá motif, as well as selections from Robert Burton’s “Anatomy of Melancholy” (1621), echoed by W. G. Sebald’s “The Rings of Saturn” (1997). – The bulk of the seminar will consider 19th and 20th c. narratives: Joseph Roth, “Radetzkymarch” (1932); Guiseppe di Lampedusa, “The Leopard” (1958), and Thomas Mann’s “Doctor Faustus” (1947). – We will also explore two films: Ingmar Bergman’s “Winter Lights” (1963) and Theo Angelopoulos’ modernist cinematic reimagining of Homer: “Ulysses’ Gaze” (1995).
Corina Stan “Culture, Civilization, World (Literature)”

ENG 590 (cross-listed in Literature, Romance Studies, and German)

W 3:05 PM to 5:35 PM, Allen 306

Two important novels were published in 2015: Michel Houellebecq’s Soumission(Submission) and Jenny Erpenbeck’s Gehen, ging, gegangen (Go, Went, Gone)—the first about the “end of the West”, ushered in by the electoral victory of a Muslim president in France in 2022; the second about the irrelevance of the cultural foundations of European identity (Greek philosophy, Roman law, and Judeo-Christian morality) exposed in the mismanagement of the refugee crisis. Although set in the near future, Houellebecq’s novel paradoxically remains attached to the past: “Eurabia” restores France its lost imperial greatness at the expense of its core liberal values, of its own cultural identity; France, and with it Europe, submits to Islam, in a soft “clash of civilizations” from which only one can emerge victorious. Erpenbeck’s novel, by contrast, carefully cultivates an “ethics of now”: it revisits the past of colonialism in order to anchor itself firmly in the present, through an attunement of worlds—not the submission of a civilization to another, but a surrender to the realization of a shared vulnerability generated by global migration. The publication of Submission on 7 January 2015 coincided with the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks, a sinister preface to the refugee crisis that followed, dramatized in Go, Went, Gone. These novels’ cultural diagnoses, their remedial scenarios, and the nexus of terrorism and immigration highlight an important question: how does global migration affect cultural pessimism in the West?

Using these two novels as points of departure, this course examines the history of the uses of “culture” and “civilization”, and, in relation to this history, the emergence of “world literature” (Weltliteratur). Our approach to the distinction established by Kant between “Kultur” and “Zivilisation” will be interdisciplinary and cross-cultural, with readings including Petronius’s Satyricon, Schiller, Diderot, Herder, Nietzsche, Arnold, Freud, Elias, Spengler, Marcurse, Hall, Said, Fukuyama and Huntington. Possible topics include: the uses of “culture” in the discourse of “Bildung”; the relationship between Romanticism, decadence and modernism; the anthropological critique of modernist elitism; the discourse on culture by British Left intellectuals; the so-called “cultural turn” in debates on multiculturalism; the emergence of postcolonial studies, Orientalism vs. Occidentalism. These debates will provide a broad context for considering the history of “world literature”, a discipline that, in the past two decades, has tended to replace “comparative literature.” Possible readings include Goethe, Auerbach, Casanova, Beecroft, Appiah, Apter, Damrosch, Stanford Friedman, Cheah, Siraj Ahmed, and others. Along the way, we’ll watch films like Fellini’s adaptation of Satyricon, Sokurov’s The Russian Ark, Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor, and read some fictional texts (Mircea Eliade’sYouth without Youth, and possibly Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being).

Jacqueline Waeber: Aurality and Music In Cinema
Music S790