ENG 4133 Section 1G33

Touchy Feelings:

Aesthetics, the Uncanny, and the Malicious Object or Spirit

Spring 2016

Please send all work for this class to richardaburt22@gmail.com

Warnung! Warning!

This Course is Dedicated to the Memory of William V. Nestrick

Stunt Ed

Course Description

Course Requirements

Class Schedule

Due the Day Before Each Class:

A. Two Discussion Questions


and / or

C. Three shots with three film analysis terms

Co-Leading Class

Yale Film Analysis Website

Paper Guidelines

T 2-3, R 3 

TUR 2332

Screenings: M 9-11

ROLFS 0115

UF Class Period Times


Professor Richard Burt


Please email me only to send me class assignments. Otherwise, please talk to me in person after (not before) class or during office hours.

Office: 4314 Turlington Hall (TUR)

Office Hours in 4314 TUR: Tu / Th 11:00-12:30, and by appointment


Everywhere one see affixed the curiously circular-shaped coat of arms of the firm, not only on the letterheads, but also on the furniture, and even on the plates, glasses, and table-ware of the comfortably and tastefully appointed canteen with bar. But in the vestibule it can be viewed giant-size, executed in colorful glass mosaic and lit through from behind. The coat of arms displays the head of smiling Big Quenzel in a decorative style, over which spreads Hulesch's pinions [si]. On the lower rim one reads the hearaldic motto, in English:


This expresses the actual educational intention of the institute. But in an entrance hall one finds still a second text, somewhat below the huge, colorful coat of arms, in raised letters of marble:


(After fury, grin)

One sees, here the great dignity of the whole business becomes clear.

Heimito Von Doderer, selections from The Merowingians, of The Total Family, pp. 167-68

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Stone Soup



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The current version of this website is the binding one, if you are taking this course.

"Para español, presione / oprima dos."

A little about me

STEAM (not STEM) The "A" stands for "Arts," as in Liberal Arts.

Benjamin Ginsberg, The Fall of the Faculty (2011)

Bill Readings, The University in Ruins (1997)

If Students Are Smart, They’ll Major in What They Love

Missing UF Faculty (mostly from English)

Lou Reed, "This Magic Moment"

As you get old, you can see to the end. The rest of your life is reduced to the size a cartoon panel like the one below. You can see where you will have been and where your corpse will end up. Life is short--er-ish.


Werner Herzog on the importance of reading (go to 4:05)


Should I take a class with Burt?


Course Policies


Live Grading

Speed Grading


Learning a Lot about a little and a Little About a Lot


Slow Motion Reading

Better to Burt Out than Fade Away

"Why Teach What You Already Know?"

--Jean-Michel Rabaté

"I want to pay tribute to his memory here and to recall all that I owe to the trust and encouragement he gave me, even when, as he one day told me, he did not see at all where I was going. That was in 1966 during a colloquium in the United States in which we were both taking part. After a few friendly remarks on the paper I had just given, Jean Hippolyte added, “That said, I really don’t see where you are going.” I think I replied to him more or less as follows: “If I clearly saw ahead of time where I was going, I don’t really believe that I would take another step to get there.” Perhaps I then thought that knowing where one is going may no doubt help in orienting one’s thinking, but that it has never made anyone take a single step, quite the opposite in fact. What is the good of going where one knows oneself to be going and where one knows that one is destined to arrive? Recalling this reply today, I am not sure that I really understand it very well, but it surely did not mean that I never see or never know where I am going and that to this this extent, to the extent that I do not know, it I not certain that I ever taken any step or said anything at all."

--Jacques Derrida,

"Punctuations: The Time of a Thesis," in The Eyes of the University, 115

For God's sake, Mr. Storyteller, you ask, where are they going? And I answer: for God's sake, Reader, does any of us know where we're going? Where are you going?

--Denis Diderot, Jacques the Fatalist, 41

With all this, Madam,—and what confounded every thing as much on the other hand, my uncle Toby had that unparalleled modesty of nature I once told you of, and which, by the bye, stood eternal sentry upon his feelings, that you might as soon—But where am I going? these reflections crowd in upon me ten pages at least too soon, and take up that time, which I ought to bestow upon facts.

--Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy

Hélène Grimaud

, Her Way: A pianist of strong opinions.

The CIA’s Kafkaesque Guide to Subverting Any Organization with “Purposeful Stupidity” (1944)

The CIA's Timeless Tips for "Simple Sabotage"




from Thomas Mann, Doktor Faustus, trans. John Wood, p. 63

Pausing to leave a text in order to find out more about what is being discussed and described; going a source like wikipedia to find out a little bit about or going to youtube to listen to a piece of music; returning to the text where you left. The text returns to you; you may reread it; you may finally read it after all; you may learn even more. Thedor Adorno; Adorno and Mann correspondence; Mann, Genesis of Doktor Faustus: The Novel of a Novel; Schoenberg; you read books and articles; you listen to more performances of Beethoven, more recordings; your learn about pianists who perform the piece--Maurizio Pollini); you learn about the piano sonata; about the sonata and classical music; classical versus romantic music; late Beethoven--quartets; deafness, and so on.)

, Wonder-Land

Sherlock Holmes as an extremely close reader (and misreader: "Rache" turns out to be the unfinished signature of hte victim's name, "Rachel").

Open Culture

Originally published in The New Yorker, February 25, 1967

Hannah Arendt, "Lying in Politics: Reflections on The Pentagon Papers"

“The Political Function of the Modern Lie” (Contemporary Jewish Record). Author : Alexander Koyré. Publication Year: 1945.

ANEMONA HART OCOLLIS, "Colleges Spending Millions to Deal With Sexual Misconduct Complaint" MARCH 29, 2016

Richard Burt and Jeffrey Wallen, "Knowing Better: Sex, Cultural Criticism, and the Pedagogical Imperative in the 1990s," Diacritics, "Texts / Contexts," Spring 1999, 29 (1): 72-91.​

The History, Uses, and Abuses of Title IX AAUP

My Title IX Inquisition By Laura Kipnis MAY 29, 2015

MATTHEW Q. CLARIDA, "Law School Profs Condemn New Sexual Harassment Policy"
CRIMSON October 15, 2014

Performing Race:

Black Like You: Blackface, Whiteface, Insult & Imitation in American Popular Culture 

Jacques Derrida, "Plato's Pharmacy"

Writers Reading Writers

DAVID DENBY, "Stop Humiliating Teachers"

Marilynne Robinson, "Save Our Public Universities: In Defense of America’s Best Idea"

"Neoliberal Arts" Harper's Magazine 2015

Dickens, Charles. 1852. "A Ragged School," Harper's Magazine

Arthur Schopenhauer, "On University Philosophy" in Parerga and Paralipomena:Short Philosophical Essays Vol. 1 Ed. Christopher Janaway. (1851 / Cambridge University Press, 2015)

Arthur Schopenhauer, "The Art of Being Right" or, "The Art of Controversy"

Friedrich Nietzsche, "Schopenhauer as Educator" (1874)

"Historical, in fact philological, consider- ations have slowly but surely taken the place of profound explorations of eternal problems. The question becomes: What did this or that phi- losopher think or not think? And is this or that text rightly ascribed to him or not? And even: Is this variant of a classical text preferable to that other? Students in university seminars today are encouraged to occupy themselves with such emasculated inquiries. As a result, of course, philosophy itself is banished from the university altogether."

Nietzsche, Friedrich. 1872 anti-education Harper's Magazine

Friedrich Nietzsche,1872. ANTI-EDUCATION introduction and annotation by Paul Reitter and Chad Wellmon, translated from the German by Damion Searls

Heidegger, Martin, 1933. "The Self-Assertion of the German University and The Rectorate 1933/34: Facts and Thoughts," Review of Metaphysics 38 (March 1985): 467-502.

Auerbach, Eric. 1943. Epilogue to Mimesis: The Represenation of Reality in Western Literature

Curtius, E. R. 1947. Die auslandiche wissenschaftliche Literatur der Kriegs- und Nachkriegsjahre ist mir bis auf verschwindende Ausnahmen nicht zuganglich gewesen. Auch die Bonner Universitatebibliothek ist seit 1944 in folge eines Bombenangriffs teils unbenuntzbar, teils verbrannt. Ich habe daher manches Zitat nicht meher vergleichen, manche Quelle nicht mehr einsehen konnen. Aber wenn die literature 'das fragment der Fragmente" ist (Goethe), muss ein Versuch wie der vorleigende erst recht den Charackter des Fragmentarishcen tragen.

During the war and postwar years, I lost sight of foreign literary criticism after it vanished and was thus inaccessible to me. Also, as a consequence of an air raid in 1944, parts of the Bonn University Library were unusable or burnt. I could no longer check various citations or consult many sources. But if literature is "the fragment of fragments" (Goethe), an attempt like this one in particular must exhibit a fragmentary character.] — "Vorwort," in Europaisches Literatur und Lateinische Mittelater, (my translation; not translated in the English edition of 195

Curtius, E. R. 1953. I have tried to show that humanistic tradition is from time to time attacked by philosophy. It may suffer a serious setback from these aggressions. Many signs seem to point to the fact that we are faced once more with an incursion of philosophers, existentialists... "Appendix: The Medieval Bases of Western Thought," European Literature in the Latin Middle Ages, 592

De Man, Paul. 1983. As a control discipline . . . philology represents a store of established knowledge; to seek to supersede it . . . is without merit. "Heidegger's Exegeses of Hölderlin," Blindness and Insight, , 263-4.

Readings, BiIl. 1997. The University in Ruins. Harvard University Press.

Derrida, Jacques. 2001. "The University Without Condition," originally delivered as a Presidential Lecture at Stanford University in 1998. Its title was "The Future of the Profession or the University Without Condition (Thanks to the 'Humanities,' What Could Take Place Tomorrow)." This version can be found in Jacques Derrida and the Humanities: A Critical Reader, ed. Tom Cohen (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2001), 24-57. A slightly altered version, recast as an essay, appeared as "The University Without Condition" in Jacques Derrida, Without Alibi, trans. Peggy Kamuf (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 2002), 202-37. The French original is L'université sans condition (Paris: Galilée, 2001).

Derrida, Jacques. 2002 Who's Afraid of Philosophy: Right to Philosophy 1 trans. Jan Plug. Stanford Univ. Press,

Derrida,Jacques. 2004 Eyes of the University: Right to Philosophy 2 trans. Jan Plug. Stanford Univ. Press,

When do you have to go outside the text in order to understand it? Philology (history through etymology)

Philology as entry into history and culture: Life / Sex Life / End of Life = life, sex, and death=civilization

Genetic Fallacy?

When and under what conditions does knowing something about a writer's biography or the time he or she was writing make a difference to your reading of what he or she wrote?

What is reading? Linear, immersive, close, repetitive, temporal, spatial metahors, circular, distant

Pierre Bayard, How to Talk About Books You've Never Read


Reading is a vice which can replace all other vices or temporarily take their place in more intensely helping people live, it is an aberration a consuming passion. No, I don’t take any drugs, I take books, of course I have certain preferences, many books don’t suit me at all, some I take only in the morning, others at night, there are books I don’t ever let go, I drag them around with me in the apartment, carrying them from the living room into the kitchen, I read them in the hall standing up, I don’t use a bookmark, I don’t move my lips while reading, early on I learned to read very well, I don’t remember the method, but you ought to look into it. They must have used an excellent method in our provincial elementary schools, at least back when I learned to read.
--Ingeborg Bachmann, Malina: A Novel, trans. Philip Boehm (Teaneck, NJ: Holmes & Meier, 1990), 57-58.

Jacques Derrida, "Plato's Pharmacy"

Let's Do a Few Lines (of text)!

Tim Cook, February 16, 2016 A Message to Our Customers
The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.

Set design for the trialer of The Nursing Home (Tagline: "Before you die . . . you've already gone to Hell!")

Remember. Elders Care!

You Already Know how to Read Film (Genre--you know what to expect) Example: Hostel (2005)

Performing Race:

Black Like You: Blackface, Whiteface, Insult & Imitation in American Popular Culture 

Geoff Dyer, "Reader's Block"

Jacques Derrida, "Eating Well"

Jacques Derrida Interview on writing as food or drugs

STEAM (not STEM) "A" stands for "Arts," as in Liberal Arts

Freud's Disruptive Student


Farhenheit 451 paratext

Juan Luis Borges, "Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote"

Carlo Ginzburg, Clues

Writing as a Drug

Mirrors trailer

Freudian Slips in German

Walter Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the Age of its Reproducibility"

Jacques Derrida in Ghost Dance

Avital Ronell on the examined life

Sigmund Freud, "The Uncanny"

Sigmund Freud, "Dreams and Telepathy"

Sigmund Freud, "Psycho-analysis and Telepathy"

Sigmund Freud, "Mourning and Melancholia"

Sigmund Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle standard edition

Derrida on invention and illegality

Jacques Derrida in Ghost Dance

Avital Ronell on the examined life

Sigmund Freud, "The Uncanny"

Friedrich Schlegel, "On Incomprehensibility"


Interpretation as Circle

Quotations I Like


Identity Politics

My Blog





Photo taken by Elizabeth Burt, December 12, 2014. Interior lighting by Elizabeth Burt.

That's me in Berlin circa 1995.

My wife and me in Berlin 1996

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Me, circa 1983


September 19, 1998, possibly the happiest day of my life. Photo taken by Maclay Burt.

My wife a year before I met her.