Vancouver Public Library




“Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.”
–Shakespeare, The Tempest

Life is full of repetition: attempts to remake, remodel, or rewrite what has gone before. From covers or remakes of songs and movies to the renovation or restoration of buildings and monuments, from the reinvention of communication technologies to re-readings (even misreadings) of literary works, we see a pervasive desire to adapt, rework, or subvert inherited cultural forms and traditions.

But repetition is never simple. The recurrence of historic problems or issues is perhaps less compelling than the new concerns and connections that emerge when a deceptively familiar past is reinterpreted in the present. This course examines a variety of philosophical and literary texts through a series of thematic clusters that demonstrate the dynamic tension between established understandings and new meanings.

Our hypothesis is that the appeal of the classics comes not from some timeless essence, but from our need to remake, remodel, and reinterpret the past in ever new ways. When we study these texts together, both “originals” and “remakes,” they shed new light on each other and challenge us to rethink the relations between philosophy and popular culture, tradition and modernity.

Term One:

Term Two:

Highly Recommended:

  • Wayne Booth (et al), The Craft of Research (Chicago; 978-0226062648)

  • Lectures: Mondays, 1-3pm, Pacific Time

Term One:

Term Two:

  • week one (Jan 6): Wordsworth, “Preface to Lyrical Ballads” (1802); Wordsworth and Coleridge, selections from Lyrical Ballads [Miranda Burgess]
  • week two (Jan 13): Austen, Northanger Abbey; Wright, Shawn of the Dead [Miranda Burgess]
  • week three (Jan 20): Freud, Dora: A Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria plus “Femininity” [Christina Hendricks]
  • week four (Jan 27): Fanon, Black Skins / White Masks [Jon Beasley-Murray]
  • week five (Feb 3): Foucault, History of Sexuality: An Introduction [Christina Hendricks]
  • week six (Feb 11): Hacking, Rewriting the Soul [Jill Fellows]
  • week seven (Feb 24): Paine, Rights of Man [Christina Hendricks]
  • week eight (Mar 3): Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women [Jill Fellows]
  • week nine (Mar 10): de Beauvoir, The Second Sex [Jill Fellows]
  • week ten (Mar 17): Conrad, Heart of Darkness [Robert Crawford]
  • week eleven (Mar 24): Achebe, Things Fall Apart [Jon Beasley-Murray]
  • week twelve (Mar 31): Coppola, Apocalypse Now [Jon Beasley-Murray]
  • week thirteen (April 7): review