English 502: Adolescence in Literature. Authenticity and Self. Mary Galbraith.
MWF 10-10:50. CSQ 201
"[Literature] is that very fragile language which men set between the violence of the question and the silence of the answer."--Roland Barthes
The literature of adolescence raises the great existential questions: what is the meaning of my life? who must I become? must I betray my deepest self in order to be loved and accepted? In this course we will consider the ways these questions have been (un)answered in outstanding works of literature over the past 200 years. Can such novels end authentically without killing off the protagonist or falsifying their premises?
Tentative reading list (some will be read in excerpt, others in their entirety):
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774)
Hans Christian Andersen, "The Little Mermaid" (1837)
Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre (1847)
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations (1861)
Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)
Jack London, The Call of the Wild (1903)
D. H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers (1913)
Richard Wright, Native Son (1940)
J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (1951)
Louise Fitzhugh, Harriet the Spy (1964)
Jose Lezama Luna, Paradiso (1966)
Robert Cormier, The Chocolate War (1974)
Peter Pohl, Johnny My Friend (1985)
Yu Hua, Cries in the Drizzle (2007)
Note: Literature published before 1923 is in the public domain and is therefore freely available as etext on the internet. Many class texts are also available in thrift editions (less than five dollars).