Ever since Charlotte Roche’s controversial debut Feuchtgebiete rocked the German public in early 2008, the question as to what is expressible and justifiable in (sexual) literature has been asked with fresh fervor.
Roche’s approach, however, is far from being innovative (and clumsily carried out for that matter): sexuality and intercourse as narrative devices have enjoyed a high status in literature throughout history and across cultures; what is fluctuating is an era’s, culture’s or society’s attitude to sex and the resulting connotations expressed in fiction.
Performing sex in all its possible varieties has ramifications on an individual, social and hierarchical basis. Thus, writing about these phenomena endows sex as a literary trope with multifaceted narrative functions: from esthetics to symbolic action, from porn to power plays.
In this seminar we will study and discuss a chosen range of texts from early 20th to early 21st century by British and American male and female authors. We will seek to conceptualize sex as a vehicle for narrative strategies and intentions depending on literary modes, cultural background and gender perspectives.
For 2 CP students are expected to attend class regularly, read texts closely and participate in discussions. Two shorter writing assignments are obligatory.
For 3CP a presentation in class or a term paper are options.