Naked Eye/I • MADNESS AS ART
ENGLISH 301: THE
Carlos Amador • Dr.
William A. Nericcio • Nikki Prieto
[etymology: Middle English, from Old English nacod; akin to Old High German
nackot, Latin nudus, Greek gymnos] 1. not covered by clothing: NUDE. 2.
devoid of customary or natural covering: BARE: as a: not enclosed in a
sheath or scabbard b: not provided with a shade c: of a plant or one of
its parts: lacking pubescence or enveloping or subtending parts. d: lacking
foliage or vegetation e: of an animal or one of its parts: lacking an external
covering (as of hair, feathers, or shell). 3. a: scantily supplied or furnished
b: lacking embellishment: UNADORNED. 4. UNARMED, DEFENSELESS. 5. lacking
confirmation or support. 6. devoid of concealment or disguise 7. unaided
by any optical device or instrument (visible to the naked eye) 8. not backed
by the writer's ownership of the commodity contract or security.
Unadorned. Without cover. In a word, “naked.” A familiar enough word--a
welcome one at times. In this 1999 version of The Psychological Novel,
we will use the concept of nakedness to explore the minds, bodies and art
of women and men throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. We will concern
ourselves with individuals who are anything but normal and by the end of
the semester we may well decide that “normal” is the last thing we want
when we are looking for art--especially when it comes to better surveying
that contentious realm called the psychological. The various naked minds,
bodies and psyches we encounter this term will teach us to rethink what
it is we think of when we imagine the dimensions of the human mind--in
the process we will learn again just how instrumental literature can be
in exposing the riches and excesses of this mind. We will not limit ourself
to the written word in this seminar, as we will explore also naked eyes
from the visual arts and cinema. Odds are your eyes and “I” will be moved
by these encounters. This course is open to all undergraduates without
regard to your selected major and assumes no expertise in literature, film
or fine art. If you are curious about naked artists, naked souls and naked
eyes, then hold on to your hats. With your dynamic participation, our adventure
promises to be one hell of a spectacle.
DAY TO DAY PLANNER/
January 26, 1999
We begin with an
introduction to the concept of The Naked Eye/I. The “eye” in relation to
the “I”--or how “seeing” saturates the “Subject.” Also, an extended overview
of expectations and responsibilities. A revisionist soliloquy on the word
“naked.” And last but not least, an introduction to your gifted TAs.
January 28, Thursday
Read up to page
97 in Pascal Bonafoux’s Van Gogh: The Passionate Eye. How did Van Gogh
attempt to reshape the world that entered his brain through his eyes--in
short, Van Gogh’s canvases * Van Gogh’s observations: our goal is to describe
February 2, Tuesday
Finish reading Bonafoux’s
comprehensive overview of Van Gogh’s career. Think about the various meanings
of the word, “naked.” Is Van Gogh a naked artist, and, if so, what does
this teach us about the psychology of art?
February 4, Thursday
Read the “The Judgment”
and “The Stoker” in Franz Kafka’s The Sons. Try not to read the Mairowitz/Crumb
exposť on Kafka, as it will decidedly slant your readings of the
story. In class short writing assignment on Van Gogh and Kafka: come prepared.
Receive Imagination Speculation #1 due next Friday, February 12, at 12
noon, under my door, 4117 AH.
February 9, Tuesday
Over the weekend
read Mairowitz and Crumb’s Introducing Kafka and Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis.”
In class, we will consider Kafka’s short story, but we will also think
about how the genre of biography, and here, illustrated biography, impacts
upon our interpretations.
February 11, Thursday
Read Kafka’s “Letter
to His Father.” Consider how reading this tract changes the way you have
come to read Kafka’s literature. What is the relationship between literature
and autobiography? NOTE: Your Imagination Challenge #1 is due tomorrow
at noon, under my door, 4117 AH.
February 16, Tuesday
The naked eye is
the naked I is the naked self. From fiction we turn now to the paintings
of Frida Kahlo, Mexico’s gift to art in the 20th century. Kafka, perhaps,
has prepared us for the visceral honesty of these pictures--then again,
perhaps not. Read to page 59 in Kettenmann’s pictorial biography.
February 18, Thursday
Finish reading the
Kahlo volume. Think through the concept of the Naked Eye/I with specific
regard to issues of gender. Is a naked woman the same as a naked man. We
know they are not, but why. Think this through as you carefully read this
book and “screen” these images.
February 23, Tuesday
Over the weekend
read to page 110 in Freud for Beginners. Also read the first Case History
in Three Case Histories, chronicling the sad tale of the Rat Man. Read
slowly and with a dictionary. Try not to evaluate the rightness or wrongness
of Freud’s theories; read this tale as you would a novel.
February 25, Thursday
Finish reading Freud
for Beginners. This is a more complex book than it might first appear at
first glance as the images are as sophisticated as the commentary; Zarate
as important as Appignanesi: attend to this as you read the volume. You
will receive your 4-7 page Imaginative Speculation Research Adventure Essay
assignment today--they are due Friday, April 16 at 12noon, under the door
March 2, Tuesday
We continue our
reading of Freud with the infamous case of the Wolf-Man. Read “From the
History of an Infantile Neurosis” (1918). Again, read it as you would a
novel or detective story--and read with a good dictionary: Freud has to
use big code words for sexual practices so as not to offend his readers.
March 4, Thursday
We will continue
our discussion of the Wolf-Man case history and conclude our discussion
of Freud as he relates to literature and the naked psyche.
March 9, Tuesday
Now that we have
read Freud, we need a juicy piece of literature to apply him to... Enter
Young Valiant, a play by famous and infamous Los Angeles playwright, Oliver
Mayer. Enter class having read Mayer’s play. How does his work add to what
we have already learned about literature and the psyche.
March 11, Thursday
Celebrity day in
the our naked asylum as ranking inmate Oliver Mayer joins our class for
discussion and questions. After class book signing and party at Monty’s.
Bring a friend.
March 16, Tuesday
Seeing and the psyche,
speculation and the mind: it all comes together in this centerpiece work
of the class, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. Come into class
having read to the end of chapter VIII (8). As much as Wilde crafts a lurid
tale, he is also and simultaneously fashioning a theoretical meditation
on the nature of representation and subjectivity. Watch for this as you
continue your reading.
March 18, Thursday
For today’s discussion
read up to the end of chapter XII (12). Pay keen attention to who is desiring
whom throughout this gothic libido festival. In-class writing assignment,
a distinct possibility.
March 23, Tuesday
Read from chapter
XIII (13) to Chapter XVIII(18) for today’s discussion. What role do narcotics
play in the novel? Are they a means to self-discovery or an escape from
reality? Or both?
March 25, Thursday
Finish your reading
of Wilde’s wild novelistic romp.
March 30, Tuesday
NO CLASS-Enjoy yourself,
naked or clothed.
April 1, Thursday
NO CLASS-Enjoy yourself,
naked or clothed.
April 6, Tuesday
Today we will begin
screening Billy Wilder’s magnum opus, Sunset Boulevard. Expect also, an
introductory lecture on Wilder and seeing as Pathology.
April 8, Thursday
We will continue
screening Wilder’s grand classic. As you watch the film, think about the
connection between Wilde’s novel and Wilder’s film.
April 13, Tuesday
We will finish screening
Wilder’s movie today. What is the connection between Hollywood and the
psyche. How does Wilder get us to rethink the connection between the Naked
Subject and the larger naked body politic?
April 15, Thursday
of Wilde and Wilder. Your 5-8 page Imaginative Speculation Research Adventure
essays are due tomorrow under my office door, 4117AH at noon.
April 20, Tuesday
Read Carlos Fuentes’s
Aura over the weekend and come into class ready to discuss the relationship
between Fuentes, Wilder and Wilde’s work. Note how each weave a connection
between memory, seeing and sexual desire.
April 22, Thursday
We will continue
our discussion of Fuentes’s Aura. Can we draw a connection between Fuentes’s
work and Freud’s from earlier in the semester? How does the concept of
nakedness or subjectivity figure in this eerie novella?
April 27, Tuesday
We will begin screening
Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope (1948). Are there connections to be drawn between
this work and Wilde’s? Think carefully of the relationships that develop
between men in the movie
April 29, Thursday
We will end our
screening of Hitchcock’s Rope and continue our discussion. We will also
screen a limited selection from George Stevens’s Giant, so as to set up
our class for next Thursday.
May 4, Tuesday
Lecture on Hitchcock
and the Naked Eye/I--some peculiar suggestions about the relationship between
philosophy and literature, a distinct possibility.
May 6, Thursday
Quiz likely. You
will enter the room having carefully prepared Tino Villanueva’s Scene from
the Movie Giant--how does Villanueva translate trauma into art?
May 11, Tuesday
You can expect a
review of the semester as well as several huge hints about the final. Not
a day to skip unless your feeling really, really brilliant or lucky. Expect
May 13 Thursday
In-class final exam.
Party at Monty’s!
ask? Reading and class discussion make up a significant portion of the
class; attendance helps--you won't pass without it. If you intend to miss
more than three classes, you will be asked to leave our naked observatory
permanently. And I do not just expect attendance, I expect prepared attendance--even,
brace yourself, participation. Do think twice about setting foot in our
singularly ugly classroom if you have not completed your assigned reading
for the day. Also to be expected? One short imagination challenge (2 to
3 pages); one researched imagination challenge (5-8 pages), a final exam
on the last day of classes and (bleah) quizzes--if and only if the nudity
obsessed occupants/inmates of our class decide to perform with high school
Attendance, Class participation, Ability to attend class without sleeping:40%
Final ExaM: 24%
Why ‘office hours’?
I expect you to visit your fabulously talented and utterly exploited teaching
assistants, Nikki Prieto or Carlos Amador, or your massively overpaid professor
in office hours at least once during the semester. In a class like ours
it will be too easy to fall through the cracks, to feel that you are nothing
but a number or some warm pile of clothed flesh filling a seat. In order
to understand that the individuals teaching you are somewhat human, please
make a point of letting us meet you personally outside the confines of
our “lovely” chemistry/geology amphitheatre. My office hours are from 11
to 2pm on Tuesdays in Adams Humanities 4117--and do note that I KEEP my
office hours (If I am not there on Tuesdays, I am either away mometarily
answering the call of nature or dead); Ms. Prieto and Mr. Amador will post
their hours shortly--they will hold their office hours in Adams Humanities
4179; and you can leave them a message there at 594.6711. If these hours
are inconvenient, do not hesitate to call me at 594.1524 either to schedule
an appointment or discuss your questions via telephone. My email address
is firstname.lastname@example.org, but please only contact me via cyberspace if it is an
emergency or if the thought of visiting a professor or teaching assistant
makes you deathly ill.
REQUIRED BOOKS AVAILABLE
AT AZTEC SHOPS, KB AND FTX
Van Gogh: The Passionate
Eye, Pascal Bonafoux
The Sons, Franz
David Mairowitz & Robert Crumb
Frida Kahlo: Pain
and Passion, Andrea Kettenmann
Three Case Histories,
The Picture of Dorian
Gray, Oscar Wilde
Aura, Carlos Fuentes
REQUIRED BOOKS AVAILABLE
EXCLUSIVELY AT THE BLUE DOOR LITERARY BOOKSTORE [3823 5th Avenue, San Diego,
CA, (619) 298-8610. From campus, take 8West to 163South, exit at University.
If you see the giant HILLCREST street sign, park! You’re almost there.
You can get to 5th avenue and Hillcrest using San Diego Transit’s #11 bus
from the Bus Circle opposite Adams Humanities on the SDSU campus.]
Freud For Beginners,
Richard Appignanesi & Oscar Zarate
Scene From the Movie
Giant, Tino Villanueva
Blood of Palomar
(NOT A REQUIRED TEXT--Extra CREDIT title for nakedly ambitious students
only!!!!), Gilbert Hernandez
REQUIRED BOOK TO
BE PURCHASED IN CLASS
Young Valiant, Oliver
REQUIRED FILMS TO
BE SCREENED ABSOLUTELY FREE OF CHARGE IN CLASS
Rope, Alfred Hitchcock
WILLIAM ANTHONYNERICCIO, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH AND COMPARATIVE
LITERATURE • MEMO@SDSU.EDU• 619.594.1524 • OFFICE HOURS ON TUESDAYS FROM
11 TO 2 IN AH 4117 • CARLOSAMADOR, MA CANDIDATE IN PHILOSOPHY • NIKKI PRIETO,
MA CANDIDATE IN ENGLISH• SAN DIEGO STATE UNIVERSITY • SPRING 1999 • TUESDAYS/THURSDAYS
• 9:30AMTO 10:45AM • CHEMISTRY/GEOGRAPHY 302 A.K.A. “THE NAKED ASYLUM”
• A MEMOGRAPHICSPRODUCTION ©1999