Graduate Courses, Summer 2009

Times and locations of class meetings are subject to change. Consult the UF Schedule of Courses for an explanation of the class period abbreviations.

Summer Session B

Course no. Time(s) Course title Instructor
downLIT 6856 TR 5-6 Apocalypse & Testimony Ulanowicz

LIT 6856

Apocalypse & Testimony

Anastasia Ulanowicz

Although it is conventionally associated with eschatology, the term “apocalypse” derives from the Greek word “apokalupsis,” meaning “to uncover” or “to reveal.” Indeed, early apocalyptic narratives, such as the Revelation of St. John the Divine, are characterized as much by their desire to unveil, or testify to, a particular formulation of truth as they are by their desire to project the obliteration of former material relations and philosophical world-views. The objective of this course, then, is to consider the testimonial function of contemporary narratives of apocalypse. To what do these narratives testify? Who delivers such testimony? What desires motivate this testimony? What is the relationship of such testimony to trauma? Is such testimony ultimately possible?

Course readings will include the critical and theoretical work of such authors as Benjamin, Kermode, Blanchot, Derrida, and Baudrillard. Moreover, the syllabus will include such literary and filmic works as the poetry of William Butler Yeats, the witness narratives of Primo Levi, Francis Ford Coppola’s film Apocalypse Now, Mark Haddon’s young adult novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and Cormac McCarthy’s novel No Country for Old Men. Special emphasis will be placed on the relationship between apocalyptic narratives of the contemporary religious right (e.g., Tim LaHaye and Jeremy Jenkin’s Left Behind series) and those of the secular left (e.g., Jonathan Schell’s The Fate of the Earth).

Course requirements include active class participation as well as the completion, and presentation of, a research paper on the topic of apocalypse and testimony. While the course readings and discussions will focus primarily on twentieth and twenty-first century narratives of apocalypse, students are invited to write research papers that address their particular areas of study (e.g., medieval art or Victorian fin-de-siècle literature). Moreover, MFA students have the option of submitting creative projects, so long as such projects work within the theoretical framework of the class.