Independent Study (Lit 499): Intersections of Philosophy, Poetics, and Postmodern Culture

 

Schedule:

 

Meeting One:

            Charles Bernstein, Selections from Postmodern American Poetry

            Hal Foster, Introduction to The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture

            Jean-François Lyotard, Selections from The Postmodern Condition

 

Meeting Two:

            Fredric Jameson, “Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism,” The Anti-Aesthetic

            John Cage, Selections from Postmodern American Poetry

David Antin, Selections from Postmodern American Poetry

 

Meeting Three:

            Pierre Cabanne, Dialogues with Marcel DuChamp

            Marcel DuChamp, Select artworks

Gimme Shelter: The Rolling Stones, Uncut, Uncensored, Unsurpassed

 

Meeting Four:

            Antonin Artaud, “To Have Done With the Judgment of God.” Selected Writings.

                       “Van Gogh: The Man Suicided by Society.” Selected Writings.

            Allen Ginsberg, Postmodern American Poetry (Selections).

            Jim Morrison, Select lyrics

 

Meeting Five:

            Amiri Baraka, Blues People: Negro Music in White America.

            Jimi Hendrix, Selected lyrics.

 

Meeting Six:

Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, “Cultural Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception,” Dialectic of Enlightenment.

Public Enemy. Selected lyrics.

A Tribe Called Quest. Selected lyrics.

 

Meeting Seven:

            Charles Baudelaire, The Flowers of Evil.

Walter Benjamin, Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism

Walter Benjamin, “Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” Illuminations.

 

Meeting Eight:

            Bob Dylan, Lyrics, 1962-1985.

            Simone de Bouvier, Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism (Selections).

Janis Joplin, Selected lyrics.

            Tom Waits, Beautiful Maladies.

 

Meeting Nine:

            Leonard Cohen, Selected Poems, 1956-1968.

            Robert Creeley, So There: Poems 1976-1983.

                       Postmodern American Poetry (Selections).

            Longinus. Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism (Selections).

Rationale:

 

The independent study will be similar to a “Literature and Philosophy” course, only it will concentrate on popular culture (literature), postmodernism (theory), and postmodern consumer culture (social context) in particular.  It will primarily comprehend the lyrics of select contemporary poets and musicians, who together have generated a “postmodern” literary canon, crafting culture both high and low. 

 

Objectives:

 

To investigate intersections between philosophy, poetics, and postmodern culture, especially hybrids between contemporary philosophy, poetry, and music.

 

Readings:

 

Artaud, Antonin.  “To Have Done With The Judgment of God.”  Selected Writings.  Ed. Susan Sontag.  New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1976.

---- .  “Van Gogh: The Man Suicided by Society.”  Selected Writings.  Ed. Susan Sontag.  New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1976.

Baraka, Imamu Amiri.  Blues People; Negro Music in White America.  New York: W. Morrow, 1963.

Baudelaire, Charles.  The Flowers of Evil.  Ed. Marthiel and Jackson Mathews.  New York: New Directions, 1963.

Bernstein, Charles.  “Frames and Reference.”  Content’s Dream: Essays 1975-1984.  Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 2001.

---- .  “Words and Pictures.”  Content’s Dream: Essays 1975-1984.  Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 2001.

---- . “Three/Reading, Person, Philosophy.”  Content’s Dream: Essays 1975-1984.  Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 2001.

Benjamin, Walter.  Charles Baudelaire: A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism.  Trans. Harry Zohn.  London: Western Printing Services, 1973.

---- . “Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.”  Illuminations.  Ed. Hannah Arendt.  Trans. Harry Zohn.  New York: Schocken Books, 1968.

Cabanne, Pierre.  Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp.  New York: Da Capo Press, 1987.

Cage, John.  Empty Words: Writings ’73-’78.  Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1979.

Cohen, Leonard.  Selected Poems, 1956-1968.  New York: Viking Press, 1968.

Creeley, Robert.  So There: Poems 19 76-83.  New York: New Directions Books, 1998.

Dylan, Bob.  Lyrics, 1962-1985.  New York: Knopf, 1998.

Foster, Hal.  The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture.  Washington: Bay Press, 1983.

Gimme Shelter: The Rolling Stones, Uncut, Uncensored, Unsurpassed.  Dir. Albert and David Maysles.  Abkco Films, 1991.

Ginsberg, Allen.  Howl and Other Poems.  San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1996.

Hendrix, Jimi.  Select lyrics.

Horkheimer, Max, and Theodor W. Adorno.  “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception.”  Dialectic of Enlightenment.  Trans. John Cumming.  New York: Continuum, 2001.

Joplin, Janis.  Select lyrics.

Lyotard, Jean-François.  The Postmodern Condition.  (Chapters 1-5)  Trans. Geoff Bennington and Brian Massumi.  Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984.

Morrison, Jim.  Select lyrics.

Postmodern American Poetry

Waits, Tom.  Beautiful Maladies.  New York: Music Sales, 1997.

 

Nature of Study:

 

The course will largely consist of independent reading and in-depth discussion of the texts in consultation with the professor.

 

Role of Professor:

 

The professor will provide background for the texts, their context, and the theoretical issues that they raise; offer feedback on the literary analyses and interpretations that the student will present each week; and provide detailed commentary on the final essay.

 

Frequency of Meetings:

 

The 1½-hour meetings will occur every week and a half throughout the semester.

 

Papers:

 

Along with brief response papers for each meeting, the student will write one eight-page paper, incorporating at least two of the primary texts and two of the philosophical sources listed above, as well as a significant amount of secondary criticism.