The Trouble with Crowds
Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame; Zola, Germinal; Freud, Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego; Reader with excerpts from: Whitman, Leaves of Grass; Baudelaire, Flowers of Evil and Paris Spleen; Taine, The Origins of Contemporary France; Le Bon, The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind; Poe, “The Man of the Crowd”; Hawthorne, “Wakefield”; Film: Lang, Metropolis
From the alienating crowds on city streets to the rebellious masses that threaten political order, we will consider modern representations of the people as a troublesome group. People in great numbers – especially in cities – have posed a variety of problems for modern society; they redefine both politics and day-to-day experience. For some writers, crowds are the lifeblood of democracy; for others, they are masses of unruly citizens liable to jeopardize social order with rebellion and revolt, if not simply with sloth and vice. For still other writers, they are the overwhelming crush of humanity characteristic of modern city life, numbing the senses and creating a unique brand of loneliness. In this course, we will explore works that demonstrate the mix of hope and anxiety that crowds inspire, including novels and stories by Hugo, Poe, and Zola; poems by Baudelaire and Whitman; essays by Taine, Le Bon, and Freud; and a film by Lang.
French R1A satisfies the first half of the Reading and Composition Requirement. Classes are conducted in ENGLISH.