603-103-MQ, Madness and Obsession in Literature
Madness as a literary theme can be dated as far back as ancient Greece and continues to appear in a broad array of literary works through the modern era. What makes madness so tantalizing as a literary subject? Are obsession and madness the same thing? Do representations of madness change with gender or class? By focusing on specific representations of madness in nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature, this course will explore three major themes that appear within literary representations of madness: madness as a form of creative genius, madness as a form of social rebellion, and madness as a loss or breakdown in individual identity. The course will evaluate these themes within madness through close readings of short stories, several poems, and two major plays.