English 149-2 - Winter, 2020

Topics in Literature

    Topic: Literary Seductions

Class Information

Instructor: Wallis, Christopher
CRN: 76961
Time: TR 4:40-6:00
Location: 1128 Bainer


    This advanced studies course focuses on literary representations of seduction within drama, poetry, and prose across a variety of time periods and genres. We will not only examine instances of sexual[ized] persuasion and enticement, but also explore how texts can highlight, reinforce, and challenge conceptions of what it means to seduce and to be seduced. Attending especially to how literary seductions highlight ambivalent and often conflicting interpretive understandings, we will analyze the experiences of those seeking to represent or decipher accounts of seduction (narrators, speakers, characters, ourselves), and consider how interpreters of this practice can themselves be seduced--led astray and/or toward new and unexpected opportunities or ways of thinking.

    Over the quarter, students will generate a series of short exercises that will assist in composing and/or be incorporated into an extensive research project. In their final essay, students will be tasked with sustaining their original argument over 12-15 pages, synthesizing their in-depth analyses of textual seductions with contextual/archival sources, theory, and literary criticism.

    Please be aware that this course involves reading, discussing, and writing about graphic materials. Topics may include sexual consent and assault, voyeurism, homoeroticism, the vagina dentata, fetishes, religious ecstasy, sadism and masochism, sex work, polyamory, and pedophilia and pederasty.


    Short Exercises
    Original Research Project
    Final Exam


    Carmilla (ISBN: 9780815633112), Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
    A Room with a View (ISBN: 9780486284675), E.M. Forster
    Fun Home (ISBN: 9780618871711), Alison Bechdel
    Course Reader