Narratives of Identity and Madness.

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Narratives of Identity and Madness.

What is the nature of identity and madness and how do we define and approach madness within differing narrative contexts? How are identity and representations of madness conceived and problematized by sociocultural influences, other people, and the narrative worlds of the texts we read? These questions, and more, will be explored through the various narratives on identity and madness we encounter in this course. With this theme in mind, we will be looking at texts through various critical lenses (e.g. psychological, feminist, post-colonial, etc.) to read them with and against the grain of their position within the literary canon and the sociocultural factors that influenced their making. From Henry James to Batman comics, we will engage in critical discussions with the various contexts and themes of each work that speak to how texts conceive of and examine the nature of identity and madness. To that end, students will critically read, discuss, and write about selected works of prose and poetry from diverse cultural traditions, analyzing the context, aims, and methods of literary expression through developing cogent written and oral arguments. Throughout our readings, you will be exposed to a wide sampling of identity and madness narratives based around ideas of societal divided, gender, race, sexuality, and other critical concepts that inform out approaches to literature.