Disturbing Desire: Proust, Woolf, Lacan
In this course we will read writers who disturb experiences of memory, perception, the body and desire itself, rupturing a familiar, stable 'reality', and offering in its stead the elusive workings of the unconscious. The fiction of Proust and Woolf uniquely leaves a trace of this process of disturbance, a rich vein of language in which each maps and remaps the shifting shoreline of consciousness and desire - processes that change engagement with the world. Their work interrogates the routines and habits that disallow ambivalence and fluidity. Each explores spaces from which change can emerge, as the closure of social conventions and habits of gender become productively disturbed and critically remapped. In Lacan's work, we will explore desire as founded in radical loss and lack, the chaining of signifiers in language as key to the way the unconscious reveals itself, and creativity as a particular response to desire. Students should anticipate a challenging reading process. After engaging with the texts and responding to the art of Proust and Woolf through discussion and short papers, each student will undertake a creative project of her or his own and write about their process of creativity.