February 18 2020

Advanced Shakespeare 10 Class of 2/14/20

A class on doubling, literal and metaphorical, e.g. Lady Macbeth and Lady Macduff, Hecate, etc.  The meaning of doubling.  The conglomeration and dissolution of social groups.  Simmel (of course!) on spatial relations as both the condition and the symbol of human relations.  The quickness of friends (in anticipation of Antony and Cleopatra).  Miscellaneous digressions, not all my fault.

February 12 2020

Advanced Shakespeare 9 2/11/20: Remorse and repentance

We start with Coleridge's insight (followed by Bloom) that Macbeth confuses his own pangs of conscience with imaginative fear.  Then some discussion of remorse vs. repentance as analogous to that confusion.  A couple of jokes, and then a close reading of the line "Which of you have done this" when Macbeth sees Banquo.

February 7 2020

Advanced Shakespeare 8 2/7/20 Being a character and daemonization

A class I actually liked some of: on daemonization (Lionel Abel's term in his article "Daemons true and false") and character.  How the most practical matters of representing character on stage (what we hear about Macbeth vs. what we see) give insight into the deepest existential-psychological.  This is me essentially trying to turn aspects of Macbeth into L'attente l'oubli. With digressions and a digression on digressions.

February 5 2020

Advanced Shakespeare 7 2/4/20 Friendship and love in Shakespeare

A student brings up Banquo and tries to relate the line of kings to the edge of doom to Dante's Inferno.  Which leads to a discussion of Banquo and the more general tension in Shakespeare between friendship and love, solved in the comedies but always part of the loss in the tragedies.  Considerations of this issue in Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, King Lear, and of course Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra.

January 31 2020

Advanced Shakespeare 6 1/31/20 — witches and soothsayers and messengers o my

Mainly about witches: Reginald Scott's skepticism, James's motivated belief in them, the King's touch, the relation of witches to the soothsayer in A&C (vs. the one in JC), and some attention (again, as in other courses) to Dan Decker's Anatomy of a Screenplay and the insights it affords into Shakespeare's construction of scenes: the way soothsayers and messengers are similar and the way they differ.  At the end a brief consideration of what De Quincey means by sympathy.

January 29 2020

Advanced Shakespeare 5 1/28/20 De Quincey Knocking at the Gate

Elements in Macbeth that were more or less likely to come from elsewhere.  Who played whom.  Robert Armin (and Will Kemp).  Johnson on whether the reference to Antony and Cleopatra (Macbeth's genius overmatched by Banquo's as Antony's is by Caesar) is an interpolation.  De Quincey on the knocking at the gate, and the effect that the juxtaposition of scenes has.

January 25 2020

Advanced Shakespeare 4 Friday 1/24/19 — knocking at the gate, &c

Holinshed, Knocking at the gate, Banquo, self-fulfilling prophecies, as psychological and causal, subjectivity: who in the story is the story for?  Who is real in the story?

January 21 2020

Advanced Shakespeare 3 1/21/20: Macbeth, conflict, Coleridge on puns

Coleridge on puns in Shakespeare.  Aristotelean unities and how Shakespeare violates them.  Doctor Johnson's bad conjectural emendation.  The great line he wishes to emend: "Time and the hour runs through the roughest day."

January 19 2020

Advanced Shakespeare 2 1/17/20

Why editors change the originals -- canonical words and lines, as we now know them. Theobald on Autumn/Antonie.  Theobald on "this bank and shoal of time"

January 15 2020

Advanced Shakespeare Episode 1 1/14/20

Introductory class in this course on Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra.  Punning and equivocation.

May 11 2019

Early Romantics XXVII 5-10-19 LONG Last class on Coleridge

A long class, chiefly on Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Kahn.  I think I realized some things about the latter worth realizing.  (N.B. I repeat a mistake I made earlier: the apparently supernatural episode that isn't isn't in "Michael," as I misremembered, but in "Peter Bell.")

May 4 2019

Early Romantics XXVI Climbing Mt. Snowdon in Prelude XIII

We complete our discussion of the Prelude by looking at the Snowdon scene in Book XIII, with a lot of comparison to the unfortunate and enfeebling revisions Wordsworth made in Book XIV of the 1850 version.  One student reads Oppen's "The Forms of Love" as a kind of pendant to the Snowdon scene.  I notice a bunch of things that I don't think I ever did before a connection to King Lear for example, and something about Wordsworth's prosody in the 1805 version.  

May 2 2019

Imagining Money XXXVII Wed 5-1-19 Last class: managing desire

A little about Hurston's "Gilded Six Bits," and a lot about management of desire.  Newcomb's proposed as something to think about at the end.

May 1 2019

Early Romantics XXV 4-29-19 — The Prelude and Wordsworth in general

The structure of The Prelude.  The amazing way, in Wordsworth, that we get to now in the absence of some connection to then.  The way then is always retrospective.  The spots of time.

April 30 2019

Imagining Money XXXVI Mon 4-29-19 Preference, loss aversion, anxiety

Relationship between loss aversion, preference, and anxiety. The two envelope game. Is happiness a preference, or is it another name for the existence of preferences? A Serious Man and Suspicion.

April 19 2019

Imagining Money XXXV Thurs 4-18-19 maguffins and the management of longing

A kind of culmination of the material on maguffins, loss aversion, and the management of longing.  The sunk costs of antes.  The symbolic value of the last cigarette before you quit.  That last cigarette being a kind of maguffin which allows for making it satisfy both the desire to smoke and the desire to quit.

April 18 2019

Early Romantics XXIV Wednesday 4-17-19

A lot of stuff on rhyming, on emic and etic understanding, on phonemes, before we finally get back to Wordsworth, in particular Simplon Pass and what follows: the strange melancholy mansion they stay in; then the Winander Boy: all about estrangement from nature, and being at home in that estrangement, at home in homelessness.

April 17 2019

Imagining Money XXXIV Wed 4-17-19 Stories of gambling

Narrating gambling.  Getting the benefits of the breaks.  Kinds of gambling narratives: present tense as you're playing and presenting yourself to the other agonists, and past tense: stories of loss.

April 16 2019

Early Romantics XXIII Monday 4-15-19 Home and homelessness

Powerful anticlimaxes.  How being estranged from childhood, and then recognizing that childhood is already the beginning of estrangement, is to achieve the destiny of being at home in homelessness.  [Wild turkey flies into a window across the quad and freaks us all out, one way or another.]  Mention of Frankenstein.  Some of Book VI of The Prelude.

April 15 2019

Imagining Money XXXIII Mon 4-15-19 How endings shape desires

A class -- since no one is keeping up with the reading, to put it mildly -- on the effect that endings have on our desires for narrative.  The way endings turn all preferences into short term ones, whereas with the whole novel, movie, epic, series to go, long term preferences will tend to clash more with short term ones.  This is (though I don't mention him in the class) one of the ways that convergence works, e.g. in Dan Decker's Anatomy of the Screenplay.

April 12 2019

Imagining Money XXXII Loss aversion - Thaler

Money offer on the table when we came in!  Loss aversion -- it depends how you present things, as Thaler et al show.  Medical versions.  A brief introduction to Bayesianism and why MD's need to learn some Bayesean analysis.  Brandeis's plan to sell its art collection and the "endowment effect."  Wins above replacement.




April 11 2019

Early Romantics XXII Wednesday 4-10-19 Intimations Ode, Prelude, Nature

We finally get to the end of The Intimations Ode, after detours again through "Frost at Midnight" and the nature of nature in The Prelude and the relation of nature to death.  

April 10 2019

Imagining Money XXXI — poker, money, chips, macguffins, loss aversion

In which I try and fail to remember the form of a good paradox about loss aversion; some discussion about narratives and macguffins, and the two word summary of every exciting story with a happy ending: "loss, averted"

April 9 2019

Early Romantics XXI Monday 4-8-19 More Intimations Ode

Echoes of Milton in Wordsworth.  More of the Intimations Ode with a detour through Tintern Abbey.  The shockingness of "O joy!"

April 8 2019

Imagining Money XXX Mon 4-9-19 MacGuffins

MacGuffins in Hitchcock, as an intro to Ainslie.  Why we like suspense fiction.  Hitchcock on suspense.  Rereading.  Relation to the sublime vs. the beautiful as described by Smith and Kant.

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