This course examines how the idea of “the modern” develops at the end of the 18th century in European philosophy and literature, and how being modern (or progressive, or hip) became one of the crucial criteria for understanding and evaluating cultural change. Are we still in modernity, or have we moved beyond the modern to the postmodern?
What you will learn
Intensity and the Ordinary: Sex, Death, Aggression and Guilt
With a focus on Civilization and its Discontents, we examine how Freud’s theories tried to expose profound instincts as they appeared in daily life.
Intensity and the Ordinary: Art, Loss, Forgiveness
A reading of Virginia Woolf’s modernist novel To the Lighthouse shows how giving up the search for the “really real” can liberate one to attend to the everyday.
The Postmodern Everyday
We go back to Ralph Waldo Emerson and forward to Ludwig Wittgenstein to consider how forms of life and language games need to foundation to be compelling.