The Problem of Love in Western Literature
Love causes problems. It can inspire passion or madness; foster alliances, destroy friendships, provoke war, broker peace. It impacts communities and raises fundamental questions about life. Exploring amorous discourse from two millennia –Plato’s erotic ascent, Virgil’s deceived Dido, Ovid’s rules of seduction, Boccaccio’s legitimation of female desire, Michelangelo’s homoerotic poetry, Leonardo’s sublimated impulses, Foscolo’s tragic obsession, comic uncertainties of Svevo’s modern lovers, and love from afar in Montale—we will see what changes, what persists, and ultimately come to understand what we mean when we talk about love today. Instructor: Eisner. One course.