2010-11 Catalog

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Offering Description

Death Considered

Fall quarter

Faculty: David Marr literature, history

Fields of Study: literature and philosophy

Fall: CRN (Credit) Level 10013 (16) Jr - Sr  

Credits: 16(F)

Class Standing: Junior - Senior

Offered During: Day


Art lives only on the constraints it imposes on itself; it dies of all others. -Albert Camus

Scheherazade, who told the Sultan stories in order to live another day, would agree. She had to get the words right, or else. This program considers the words—the forms—writers and philosophers use when they breathe life into the problem of human death.

The inescapability of death can concentrate the mind. The contemporary philosopher Odo Marquard argues that from the facts of life's brevity and death's finality it follows that absolute personal choices are senseless. From other philosophers come perplexing questions: Given that the human being knows he or she will die, how does he or she know this? Is it even possible to imagine one's own death? If my death is not one of my experiences, in what sense is it mine? Some would answer: in the same sense that your birth is yours. But what sense is that?

In this program we will read the following works of prose fiction and philosophy: Melville, Moby-Dick; Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov; Tolstoi, Anna Karenina; Hawthorne, Tales; James, Portrait of a Lady; Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Mann, The Magic Mountain; Conrad, Lord Jim; Faulkner, Light in August; Camus, The Plague; Thoreau, Walden; and Marquard, In Defense of the Accidental.

Death Considered is for the intellectually curious, diligent student eager to practice the craft of close reading. There will be weekly in-class exams and seminars on the literary works, exercises in conceptual analysis, seminar reports on authors' lives and times, one essay on an assigned topic and a comprehensive final exam.

Maximum Enrollment: 25

Preparatory for studies or careers in: any field requiring competence in the uses of language, conceptual analysis and interpretation, especially literature, philosophy, history, law and public service.

Campus Location: Olympia

Online Learning: No Required Online Learning

Books: www.tescbookstore.com

Program Revisions

Date Revision
February 9th, 2010 Sam Schrager will not be teaching.