Description, or ProvOccasions: This course qualifies for the Loser Studies Track in the English Department.

Why Don't Things Work? Why Do Things Like Socks Go Missing? Why Can't You Find Your Car Keys? What Causes These Things to Happen? Is there a cause? Or is there only an occasion? Are these problems the consequence of human prosthesis that turn out to fail, of technologies that make life better, as they seemed to promise? Or these problems hard-wired into human nature? Are they physical or metaphysical, material objects or immaterial forces? Can you tell the difference between something is necessary and something that is superfluous? This course explores these and related questions in relation anxiety disorders and anger mis/management, or, the total rationalization of reason and the total administration of human life. We will read posthuman, psychoanalytic, and deconstructive theory about the human, the machine, and the work of art in relation to questions about aesthetic categories and irrational anger, venting, among other unpleasant feelings (think rant outside Turlington versus clssroom lecture), focusing on literature and film concerning dolls, puppets, toys, automatons, and malicious (possessed?) objects. Readings and films will include Friedrich Schiller, On the Naïve and the Sentimental; Friedrich Schiller, Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man; Sigmund Freud, "The ‘Uncanny’"; Heinrich von Kleist, On the Marionette Theater; Paul de Man, “Aesthetic Formalization: Kleist's Über das Marionettentheater”; Theodor Adorno, selections from Minima Moralia and Aesthetic Theory, Sianne Ngai, Ugly Feelings; Sianne Ngai, Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting; Jörg Kreienbrock, Malicious Objects, Anger Management, and the Question of Modern Literature; Karl Theodor Vischer, “A Rabid Philosopher"; Stefan Andriopoulos, Ghostly Apparition: German Idealism, the Gothic Novel, and Optical Media; E.T.A. Hoffman, The Sandman; Hausu (dir. Nobuhiko Obayashi, 1977); Heimito Von Doderer, selections from The Merowingians, or, The Total Family and The Demons; Cindy Sherman, photos; Hans Belmer, photos; Jean Paul Richter, Self-Description; The Double Life of Véronique (Kristof Kieślowski,1991); Medium Cool (dir. Haskel Weskler, 1969); Blow Up (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1966); the automaton in Hugo (2011) Sullivan's Travels (dir. Preston Sturges, 1942); The Missing Picture (dir. Rithy Panh, 2013); Man with a Movie Camera (dir. Dziga Vertov, 1929); The Devil is a Woman (dir. Josef von Sternberg, 1935); Metropolis (dir. Fritz Lang, 1927); That Obscure Object of Desire (dir. Luis Buñuel, 1977); The Red Shoes (dir. Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1948); The Tales of Hoffman (dir. Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1951); Black Swan (dir. Darren Aronofsky, 2010); À nous la liberté (English: "Freedom for Us"; dir. René Clair, 1931); Modern Times (dir. Charlie Chaplin, 1936); William Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale; and A Tale of Winter (dir. Eric Rohmer, 1992).

Bring copies of any of the required books and essays to class as assigned; co-lead class discussion twice, once on a Tuesday and once on a Thursday; a Film Clip Analysis; two 700 word papers; two discussion questions, three shot analyses, and three or more "BIG WORDS" for each class; student formulated quizzes each class approved by me; and a willingness to reflect, think, respond, by paying very, VERY, VERY close formal attention to texts and films.

All beginnings are dangerous.--The poet has the choice of either raising feeling from one step to the next and thus eventually increasing it to a very high level--or else attempting a sudden onslaught and pulling the bell-rope with all his might from the beginning: both have their dangers: in the first case, that his audience may flee out of boredom, in the second, out of fear.

Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human II, "Mixed Opinions and and Maxims," section 163, ed. Gary Handwerk (Stanford UP, 2013), 67.