Intro to "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"
In class I said I'd write up a brief intro for "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" and point you towards a few things to look for and think about. Here it is: Stevenson's storyline should be rather straightforward since his writing is largely plot-driven and doesn't experiment radically with its prose. The narrative follows the perspective of Mr. Utterson, a non-judgmental friend and lawyer to Doctor Jekyll who becomes increasingly concerned with his friend's unseemly and increasingly scandalous relationship to Mr. Hyde. Hyde is a fiend -- he's short, ugly and mistreats children and the elderly; Jekyll, on the other hand, is a bulwark of the community, a reputable doctor with good breeding who throws pleasant dinner parties with fine wine. Utterson disapproves of Jekyll's affiliation to the detestable Hyde, and so appeals to another mutual friend, Dr. Lanyon, an estranged colleague who had had a falling out with Jekyll over professional (and ethical) differences, to exert what influence he can. Utterson suspects Hyde of blackmailing Jekyll, but of course we know better. In the end (*spoiler warning*), Jekyll dies and his secrets are revealed in two letters, one written by Lanyon and one written by Hyde.
Okay, things to think about and look out for: the story overtly places a good deal of significance on the dual nature of man, so consider the Jekyll/Hyde division. This division can take on numerous significations: the subconscious vs the conscious, supressed nature versus civilized man, the bestial vs the human, the secret self vs public image. However, avoid reading the story as solely an allegory for man's split nature. Rather, also consider *how* that division is sustained. What allows Jekyll to hide Mr. Hyde? There's a good deal of secrecy, discretion, confidentiality and silence going on in this story, in the form of lawyers, private servants, paid bribes, and the confidence of friendship.
Okay, hope that helps.
Second Paper Updates and Extended Office Hours
The second paper due dates have been pushed back:
Second Paper First Draft Due Tue 10/25
Final Draft Due Thurs 10/27
For those wishing to write on Macbeth, a paper prompt has been posted. A fully searchable online text of Macbeth can be found on the MIT website. For people interested in writing on Nietzsche, we'll be finishing up on Tuesday 10/18 with a discussion of Essay 2 of Genealogy of Morals and Blake's "Proverbs of Hell".
Listed below are my extended office hours for the next two weeks. I'll be at Free Speech for all of these. Email me ahead of time to reserve a 30 min slot.
10/19 Wed 10-1
10/20 Thurs 1-3
10/24 Mon 10-1
10/25 Tues 1-3
First Paper Update and Extended Office Hours
For the first three page paper, you may write on this suggested paper topic or on a topic of your own interest. Please discuss your thesis argument with me beforehand if you choose the latter.
Also, because you'll be working on first drafts this week, I'm holding extended office hours by appointment Tuesday 2-4 and Wednesday 11-12:30 at the Free Speech Cafe. By "appointment" I mean that you should drop me an email to reserve a 20 minute slot; also, I won't show if no one reserves a time slot. Before you come to see me, write out a few potential thesis arguments and have your selected passage for close reading prepared -- this will make our meeting time much more productive.
Writing Exercise due Thursday September 15: Lip-synching to Singer
Choose a short passage from Satan in Goray as a model for your own brief (two or three paragraphs) imitation of the Isaac Bashevis Singer. Your style can be faithful mimicry or satire; in either case, it's important that you demonstrate command over Singer's themes, diction and form. It will help if you employ the stylistic techniques and motifs we identified in class (the distressed bodies and anthropomorphized spaces that mimic each other's distortions, the list-like accumulation of organized detail, the detached and "ethnographic" tone, etc.). Also, be conscientious of how your imitation is similar and dissimilar to the original. Important: spend at least a half page explaining what makes your selected passage particularly emblematic of Singer, and point out how it is you exploit those that in your own rendition.
Update for Tuesday, August 30
Because there will most likely be a shortage of readers, I've placed two versions of St. Thomas Aquinas' De Malo (On Evil) on 2 hour reserve at the Moffit circulation desk. One version is translated by Jean Oesterle (the majority of the class will be reading from this edition in the course reader), and the other by Richard Regan. In the Oesterle text, please read Articles 1-5 of Question 1 "On Evil" (pgs. 1-39), as well as Jean Oesterle's Preface (pgs. xi-xxii). If the Oesterle translation is checked out and you're stuck with the Regan version, then read Question 1 On Evil (pgs. 55-119) and skim the latter portions of Brian Davie's Preface (pg. 50 on).
Also, assignment reminder, due in class Thursday, September 1: Write a brief (say, a page or page and a half) analysis of Blake's use of "symmetry" in "The Tyger" ("What immortal hand or eye / Could frame thy fearful symmetry?"). Begin by looking up "symmetry" in the Oxford English Dictionary. Which definitions, connotations or usages seem to apply in Blake's use of the word, and how does Blake extend or alter those meanings? How might the poem, or poems, also take on a certain symmetry? Finally, why "fearful"?
Addendum to class Tuesday, Aug. 30th
Here are two original plates from Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience of "The Lamb" and "The Tyger". These images were taken, without permission, from the Online Blake Archive.