English 149-2 - Spring, 2021

Topics in Literature

Topic: Nietzche in Literature & Pop Culture

Class Information

Instructor: Shershow, Scott
CRN: 42103
Time: TR 1:40-3:00
GE Areas: Writing Experience


The philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) had an explosive influence on 20th century thought, but also on its literature and drama. In this class, following some generous selections from Nietzsche himself, we'll read various imaginative writers responding to him in some way, ranging from H.P. Lovecraft's pessimistic horror to Antonin Artaud's attempt to recreate a "Dionysian" theater. See the tentative reading list below.

The class will be conducted remotely. Each week there will be two recorded lectures available on Canvas, and one synchronous online class using the Zoom teleconferencing system, conducted during the scheduled class time on Thursday (1:30-3:00). The synchronous online class is not absolutely required but strongly recommended.

Tentative reading list:

Nietzsche, selections from The Birth of Tragedy, The Gay Science, Thus Spoke Zarathustra and other texts.
H.P. Lovecraft, "The Call of Cthulhu."
Jack London, "The Call of the Wild."
George Bernard Shaw, Major Barbara.
William Butler Yeats, selected poems.
George Bataille, essays.
Antonin Artaud, selections from The Theater and Its Double.
Wallace Stevens, selected poems.
Jorge Luis Borges, "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius."
Superman, issues 1-4.
David Bowie, selected songs and interviews.


Evaluation will be based on regular completion of weekly writings, and on a term paper and final exam.


All texts in electronic form on Canvas