Sunday, December 10, 2023

Restlessness: A Syllabus

I am interested in texts that are pure voice or deal with difficult experience using a tone that does not offer relief or stop for comfort. Sometimes, the power in the text comes from powerlessness, whether personal or political. Sometimes, death is close or danger beckons or violence is threatened or enacted. Sometimes, there is a sense of real personal risk in the text’s revelations. Sometimes, there is little left to lose. All the time, the tone is incantatory or staccato or filled with melancholy recognitions.

  • Euripides, Medea
  • Sophocles, Electra
  • Sophocles, Antigone
  • Sylvia Plath, Ariel
  • Louise Glück, The Wild Iris
  • Anne Carson, Autobiography of Red
  • Juan Goytisolo, Forbidden Territory
  • Joan Didion, A Book of Common Prayer
  • Oscar Wilde, De Profundis
  • Nadine Gordimer, The Late Bourgeois World
  • Ingmar Bergman, Autumn Sonata
  • John McGahern, The Barracks
  • Béla Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky, The Turin Horse
  • Doris Lessing, The Grass Is Singing
  • J. M. Coetzee, Age of Iron
  • Béla Bartók, Bluebeard’s Castle
  • Constance Debré, Love Me Tender

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