Graduate Courses, Summer 2006

Times and locations of class meetings are subject to change. Consult the UF Schedule of Courses for an explanation of the class period abbreviations.

Summer Session B

Course no. Time(s) Course title Instructor
downENG 6016 MW 6-7
Literature & Psychology: Against Adaptation (Re-reading Lacan) Harpold
downLIT 6856 TR 2-3 Nationalism & the Novel Amoko

ENG 6016

Literature and Psychology: Against Adaptation (Re-reading Lacan)

Terry Harpold

This course is occasioned by the publication in early 2006 of Bruce Fink’s complete English translation of Jacques Lacan’s Écrits. For more than a quarter century, Écrits: A Selection, Alan Sheridan’s 1977 translation of selected essays from Lacan’s most important published work has been among the most widely-read texts of twentieth-century critical thought, despite its obvious and often consequential misrepresentations of Lacan’s original texts. Fink (re)translated those essays in 2002 for a new edition of Écrits: A Selection. This first complete edition of Écrits in English presents English-speaking readers with an opportunity to revisit familiar Lacanian territories and to strike out into others, less well-known.

The course title is taken from that of Philippe Van Haute’s masterful close reading of Lacan’s essay “The Subversion of the Subject and the Dialectic of Desire in the Freudian Unconscious.” “Subversion” is one of most dense and challenging of Lacan’s shorter written texts. It is also one of the most significant. Based on Lacan’s Seminar V (“Les Formations de l’inconscient,” 1957–58), “Subversion” marks a turn in Lacan’s teaching, from his emphasis in the 1950s on orders of the imaginary, the symbolic, and the dependence of psychic structure on operations of language, to his development in the 1960s of the concepts of the objet petit a, the real, and the fantasy. At the centers of the Seminar and the essay are the famous (or infamous, if you prefer) Graphs of Desire. These strange, compelling loops and sigles represent the most elaborate of Lacan’s early attempts to codify and transmit his teachings via graphic and para-mathematical objects. “Subversion” is arguably the culmination of many of the theoretical trajectories sketched out in Écrits. We will rely on Van Haute’s lucid and insightful book to guide our way through the fascinating, sometimes baffling defiles of this evocative, essential essay.

Readings for the course will include an eclectic selection of essays from Fink’s new translation, including several that appear there for the first time in English, and all of Van Haute’s Against Adaptation. Dylan Evans’s An Introductory Dictionary of Lacanian Psychoanalysis will serve as an valuable guide to Lacan’s technical idiom. We will also read selections from Peter Gay’s edited collection, The Freud Reader (Norton, 1995). Graded assignments include two in-class presentations and two 8–page précis/commentaries on essays from Écrits.

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LIT 6856

Nationalism and the Novel

Apollo Amoko

This course explores the relationship imagined between “nation” and “narration.” In Imagined Communities, a landmark study on the origins and spread of nationalism, Benedict Anderson appears to suggest that the novel (along with the newspaper) was central to the possibility of imagining the modern nation. The aesthetic of the novel made it possible to think and narrate the nation in “homogeneous empty time.” Further, Anderson seems to contend that the canonization of literary texts through the school system was instrumental for enabling the intelligentsia to “take the nation to the people.” From this perspective, it is not surprising that literature has historically conceived of its objects of study in fundamentally nationalist terms. In Cultural Capital, a landmark study on the logic of literary canon formation, John Guillory contends that the effect of nationalist legitimation cannot be understood as a property inherent in the aesthetic of the novel (or the newspaper), but rather, is the product of a certain context of reading, “a pedagogical imaginary.” Specific literary works, Guillory insists, must be seen as “the vector of ideological notions which do not inhere in the works themselves but in the context of their institutional presentation, or more simply, in the way in which they are taught.” He makes a firm distinction between pedagogical and national imaginaries, between school and national cultures. In his argument, school culture “does not unify the nation culturally so much as it projects out of a curriculum of artifact-based knowledge an imaginary cultural unity never actually coincident with the culture of the nation-state.” While for Anderson, the novel enables the emergence of national culture, for Guillory, the cultural institutions of the novel reflect a highly restrictive school culture. Which of these two theorists presents the more persuasive argument regarding the connection between nation and narration? We will attempt to answer this question by looking at a range of canonical texts from a variety of national and continental contexts.

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