Schedule

ERES PASSWORD: 3265mn
Posting Groups:
Group 1: Madison Brito, Timothy DeLorenzo, Thomas Dillon, Paolo Gonnelli, Karianne Laird
Group 2: Carl Langaker, Colston Merrell, Elizabeh Sruelivich, Michael Taylor, Annabella Twomey, Andrea Zvonar
Group 3: Dan Cielak, Michael Frank, Haley Glover, Will Koch, Alexandra Lawson, Joseph Levine
Group 4: Rachel Horowitz-Benoit, Gordon Lewis, Alex Merill, Henry Mooers, Jacob Morton

This course requires:
1) Reading/watching the course material on the schedule below.
2) 40-minute Zoom meetings on Fridays.
3) Twice-weekly posts/projects. These are the most important written assignments you’ll submit for the course. They’re a way of making visible and sharing with each other the work that everyone does. They must be completed before midnight on the day they’re due.
4) A final project/essay

For more details on all of these, click the Policies and Requirements tab. If you do this work seriously, I think you and I will both come away having learned something while achieving a specific intention for the online design of this class: making the work you do visible to one another and thinking consistently about the literary depiction and history of “madness.” Assignments are small but frequent, with the idea of fostering consistent online/Zoom engagement and exchange as opposed to focusing on exams and longer papers. There’s an art to writing one or two good paragraphs as opposed to pages. We’ll be practicing that. It’s ok in a post to raise thoughtful questions without offering definitive answers. All of this work should be clearly and carefully written.

DEAD LINKS or ERRORS?
The course site has dozens of embedded links. If one of them is dead or seems to take you to the wrong place, please let me know. Though I’ve done my best, I expect that errors lurk somewhere.

Word of Warning: For a variety of reasons, many readings for this course could be disturbing. Some of them are obviously meant to be. The syllabus, for example, includes a section devoted to fictional serial killers. Any honest account of the literary and medical history of the treatment of mental illness over the last 150 years is going to run into some upsetting moments. If that’s an insurmountable obstacle for you, then you might want to avoid the course.


Unit I) Mid-19th century Madness

Week 1 Urban Capitalism, Non-Conformity, and Obsession
Th 2/25 Herman Melville, Bartleby, the Scrivener (1850) (eres) (password: 3265mn)
Slides/Lecture: Bartleby’s New York and the World of Strangers

*******Post with your Group: [1][2][3][4]******
Click here or on the “Posting with Your Group” tab in the menu at the top of this page to find your group and directions on how to post. You’ll be posting with the same 5-6 people through the semester.

F 2/26 Zoom Discussion: [Section X: 9:10-10:00] [Section Y: 10:20-11:10]

Week 2 Monomania, Illusion, and Sexual Obsession
T 3/2 Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Wakefield” (1835), “Young Goodman Brown” (1835) “The Minister’s Black Veil” (1836) (eres)
Slides/Lecture: Monomania: An Introduction

Post with your Group: [1][2][3][4]

Th 3/4 Edgar Allan Poe, “Berenice” (1835), “Ligeia” (1838) (eres)
Slides/Lecture: Eyes, Teeth, and Yearning: Monomania and Poe

Post with your Group: [1][2][3][4]

F 3/5 Zoom Discussion: [Section X: 9:10-10:00] [Section Y: 10:20-11:10]

Unit II) Domestic Discontents, Sexuality, and Mental Illness
Week 3
T 3/9 Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper” (1892), “Why I wrote the Yellow Wallpaper” (1913)
S. Weir Mitchell. “Rest in the Treatment of Nervous Disease: Its Use and Abuse” (1875) (eres)
Lecture/Slides: American Nervousness and “The Yellow Wallpaper”

Post with your Group: [1][2][3][4]

Th 3/11 250-500 words, written and recorded on a single object. We’ll try to share some of these via Zoom when we meet on Friday. This should be an effort to lose yourself in the “obsessive” voice we hear in Poe or Gilman. It shouldn’t be a parody or mockery, but a sincere effort to narrate obsession. What were the challenges in writing or speaking in this voice? What are the obstacles to it? Were you able to work your mind into a state of observing or imagining previously unseen details and meanings? Was it easy for you? Are there any pleasures in this way of looking and thinking? What is the experience? Post your monologue to the Google folder linked below. In theory, that works, but if it fails, you can email the recording to me.

NO READING AND NO SLIDES/LECTURE TODAY. Spend the time working on your monologue. I look forward to hearing them.

Upload your Monologue: [1][2][3][4]

F 3/12 Zoom Discussion: [Section X: 9:10-10:00] [Section Y: 10:20-11:10]

Week 4
T 3/16  Nisi Shawl, “The Tawny Bitch” (2003)(eres). Gayl Jones, “Asylum” (optional) (1977)(eres); Kate Chopin, The Awakening (1899) (first half–second half for Thursday)
Slides/Lecture: “The Tawny Bitch”: Race, Medicine, Madness, and the Princess Myth

Post with your Group: [1][2][3][4]


Th 3/18   Kate Chopin, The Awakening (second half)(1899)
Slides/Lecture: You Bake the Best Cakes: Mother-Women, Husbands, and Family in The Awakening

Post with your Group: [1][2][3][4]

F 3/19 Zoom Discussion: [Section X: 9:10-10:00] [Section Y: 10:20-11:10]

Week 5 Darwinism and Degeneration
T 3/23 Frank Norris, Vandover and the Brute (written 1890s; published 1914). Read first half. The link will take you to a number of different online formats of the novel. Choose your favorite, or buy a hard copy.
Lecture/Slides: Urban Dangers: Vandover and White Manhood’s Decline

Post with your Group: [1][2][3][4]

Th 3/25 Frank Norris, Vandover and the Brute. Read second half.
Slides/Lecture: Evolution, Recapitulation, and Degeneration in Vandover

F 3/26 Zoom Discussion: [Section X: 9:10-10:00] [Section Y: 10:20-11:10]

Post with your Group: [1][2][3][4]

Week 6 Slavery’s Madness (Chesnutt) and 20th-Century Bartlebies (West)
T 3/30 Charles Chesnutt, “Po’ Sandy”, “Dave’s Neckliss”, and “The Doll”
Slides/Lecture: Black Madness, The Plantation Tale, and Charles Chesnutt

Post with your Group: [1][2][3][4]

Unit III) The Asylum: Moral Treatment, Medical Treatment and the Controversy of Institutionalization

Th 4/1 Moral Treatment and the Kirkbride Plan, 1820-1860
• From David Rothman, The Discovery of the Asylum, Chapter 5, “Insanity and the Social Order” and Chapter 6, “The New World of the Asylum” (eres)
“Life in the Asylum,” by a patient in the New York State Insane Asylum (1855)
Life at Asylumia (1855)
Lecture/Slideshow: The Birth of the Asylum, 1730-1860.

Post with your Group: [1] [2] [3] [4]

F 4/2 Zoom Discussion: [Section X: 9:10-10:00] [Section Y: 10:20-11:10]

Week 7
T 4/6 The Decline of Moral Treatment, 1850-1900
Nellie Bly, Ten Days in a Mad-House, 1887
Lecture/Slideshow: The Asylum: Expansion and Deterioration, 1870-1930
Optional:
• From Isaac Hunt, Astounding Disclosures! Three Years in a Madhouse (eres)
• Adriana Brinckle, from Life among the Insane (eres)

Post with your Group: [1][2][3][4]

Th 4/7-F 4/8 SPRING BREAK!! No assigned work.

Week 8 The Counterculture and the Asylum
T 4/13 Ken Kesey, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962)–First Half
Slideshow/Lecture: The New Bedlam: Psychiatric Hospitals after WWII

Post with your Group: [1][2][3][4]

Th 4/15 Ken Kesey, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest–Second Half
WATCH: Milos Forman, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, 1975 (link will take you to the movie on Panopto)
Slideshow/Lecture: Cuckoo’s Nest: Masculinity, “Black Boys,” and Nature
No Posts Today: [1][2][3][4] –Group work on scenes for Friday instead]

F 4/16 Scene Discussion (see link at the top of this page for directions): 9:10-10:00 (Madison Brito, Timothy DeLorenzo, Tommy Dillon, Paolo Gonnelli)
Scene Discussion (see link at the top of this page for directions): 10:10-11:00 (Dan Cielak, Michael Frank, Haley Glover, Will Koch)

Week 9 Contemporary Nervousness?
T 4/20 Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted (1993)
Sideshow/Lecture: Girl, Interrupted: Adolescence, Gender, and Diagnosis

Post with your Group: [1][2][3][4]

Th 4/22 Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted
• Watch James Mangold, Girl, Interrupted (1999) (available on Amazon, Google Movies, or Panopto at Middlebury).
Slideshow/Lecture: From Memoir to Fiction on the Women’s Ward

No Posts Today: [1][2][3][4] –Group work on scenes for Friday instead]

F 4/23 Scene Discussion (see link at the top of this page for directions):: 9:10-10:00 (KK Laird, Carl Langaker, Cole Merrell, Liz Srulevich)
Scene Discussion (see link at the top of this page for directions):: 10:10-11:00 (Alexandra Lawson, Joseph Levine, Rachel Horowitz-Benoit, Gordon Lewis)

Unit IV) American Psychos—Criminals and Psychopaths

Week 10
T 4/27  Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs (1981) (first half)
Slides/Lecture: Mind Control and Body Control:  Anti-Psychiatry, Titicut Follies, and The Silence of the Lambs

Post with your Group: [1][2][3][4]

Th 4/29 Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs (1981) (second half)
Slides/Lecture: Medieval Dungeons and Modern Psychiatry in The Silence of the Lambs

Post with your Group: [1][2][3][4]

F Zoom Discussion [Section X: 9:10-10:00] [Section Y: 10:20-11:10]

Week 11
T 5/4 Watch: Jonathan Demme, The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Slides/Lecture: Gender, Sexuality, and Violence: Looking in The Silence of the Lambs

Post with your Group: [1][2][3][4]

Th 5/6 Brett Easton Ellis, American Psycho, (1991)–read first half (American Psycho is satire, but it includes some long, notoriously graphic scenes of sexual and other kinds of violence. Most of these unfold in the novel’s second half. Some, though, are in these pages.)
Slides/Lecture: From Outrage to Icon: Patrick Bateman and American Psycho

Post with your Group: [1][2][3][4]

F 5/7 Zoom Discussion: [Section X: 9:10-10:00] [Section Y: 10:20-11:10]

Week 12
T 5/11 SPRING SYMPOSIUM–No assigned work
Th 5/13 Brett Easton Ellis, American Psycho–read second half
Slides/Lecture: Images, Penitents, and the Hellbound: Consumer Desire in American Psycho

Post with your Group: [1][2][3][4]

Week 13
T 5/18 Watch: Mary Harron, American Psycho (2000)
Slides/Lecture: The Afterlife of Patrick Bateman
No Posts Today: [1][2][3][4] –Group work on scenes for Friday instead]

Th 5/20 Reading TBD
F 5/21 Scene Discussion (see link at the top of this page for directions): [Section X: 9:10-10:00] (Michael Taylor, Annabella Twomey, Andrea Zvonar)
Scene Discussion (see link at the top of this page for directions): [Section Y: 10:20-11:10] (Alex Merill, Henry Mooers, Jacob Morton)