Stuff and Things: Objects and Identity in Literature

R1B (Section 3) :  English Composition through French Literature in Translation
Fall 2017
Class No: 21954
M. Phillips


Short Stories/Essays:

“Solid Objects” – Virginia Woolf

“Fetishism” – Sigmund Freud

“The Fetishism of the Commodity” – Karl Marx

“Sole Mate: Christian Louboutin and the Psychology of Shoes” – Lauren Collins


Documentary short: “The Story of Stuff” – dir. Louis Fox

Clutter – dir. Diane Crespo


Things: A Story of the Sixties – Georges Perec

The Final Reminder: How I Emptied My Parents’ House – Lydia Flem


The Nature of Things – Francis Ponge

Course Description:

Hoarding, shoe fetishes, consumerism, commodities, souvenirs, collections, household goods, art — material objects have great significance in our lives and in our stories. They can hold memories, represent desires, and help us define ourselves. In this course we will explore the meaning of stuff and things in literature, and how objects create and contribute to identity. We will study these connections through short stories, essays, films, novels, and poetry, and then analyze them while developing research and writing skills. With a focus on how to conduct scholarly research and how to use scholarly sources in academic writing, assignments include short response essays, an annotated bibliography and a final research paper. Extensive rewriting and feedback will be a central part of coursework.

This class will introduce students to approaching textual material critically, and will stress the idea of writing as a process through a variety of assignments and revisions geared to guide the development and clear expression of coherent argumentation.

Additional Information:

French R1B satisfies the second half of the Reading and Composition Requirement. Classes are conducted in ENGLISH.

Section times and locations in the Schedule of Classes