Carries General Education credit in Category GE-B (Humanistic Inquiry) and in Category GE-H (Traditions and Historical Foundations) in the new GE program and Category I in the old GE program
Professor Edwin McCann
School of Philosophy MHP-205, mc. 0451, email@example.com
Office hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and by appointment.
Love is one of the principal sources of value in most people’s lives. To love and to be loved ranks with some of the most basic needs, almost on a level with physical well-being; and for many people it is a basic element in their sense of their own identity. It is not surprising, therefore, that in the development of the Western cultural tradition there has been a central concern with love as a thematic motif or an object of investigation. In this course we will track some of the more important changes in the treatment of love through the course of development of Western culture, focussing on particularly influential works that constitute high points in this development, including works in the (relatively) new medium of film. We will look at love as a cultural artifact forged over a long period and in a variety of different cultural contexts; perhaps we will emerge from this investigation with a better of idea of what love is, and isn’t, and why we should want it, or not.
Course Learning Objectives: 1. To introduce students to some of the key works that have shaped the European and American cultural inheritance. We will be reading works by such authors as Plato, Ovid, Dante, Shakespeare, and Austen.
2. To help students develop critical and analytical skills through close reading and analysis of complex texts, and communication skills in both contribution to group discussion and in argumentative and critical writing in essay form.
3. To demonstrate that critical analysis and attention to the historical development and cultural role of key concepts (in this case, love) can bring us to a deeper understanding of the concept.
4. To provide the tools for analyzing the way different media of representation and communication (philosophical dialogues, theological works, epic poems, dramatic works, and films) shape our understanding of the underlying meaning of the work.
Course Requirements: 1. Regular attendance at lectures and your assigned discussion section and participation in the discussion section.. Attendance and particpation in discussion sections counts for 20% of the course grade.
2. One midterm examination, in-class essay format, given on February 27. Two weeks before the exam I will post a list of topics that may be covered in the exam. At the beginning of the exam period I will distribute a sheet of three exam questions, and you will choose two of those questions on which to write essays. Students are expected to supply their own large-format sized bluebooks. Midterm examination counts for 20% of the course grade.
3. Two critical/analytical papers, length 5-6 pages (1250 -1500 words) each, with the first paper due February 5 and the second due April 17 . Each counts for 20% of the course grade, so the two papers taken together count for 40% of the course grade. Due dates for the papers are listed below in the Schedule of Readings and Lectures section of the syllabus. (See policy on late papers in the Course Policies section of the syllabus.)
3. Final examination: in-class essay exam, same structure as the midterm exam (study sheet distributed in advance, three questions from which the student chooses two). Final exam counts for 20% of course grade.
Course books: 1. C. D. C. Reeve, ed. Plato on Love. Hackett. ISBN: 978-0-87220-788-2
2. Ovid, Metamorphoses. Tr. Stanley Lombardo. Hackett. ISBN: 978-1-60384-307-2
3. St. Augustine, Confessions. 2nd edition, Tr. F. J. Sheed. Hackett. ISBN 978-0-872-208162
5. Joseph Bédier, The Romance of Tristan and Iseut. Tr. Edward J. Gallagher. Hackett. ISBN: 978-1-60384-900-5.
6. Marie de France, Poetry, Tr. And ed. Dorothy Gilbert (Norton Critical Editions),
W. W. Norton & Co., ISBN-13: 978-0393932683
7. Dante Alighieri. The Portable Dante. Tr. and ed. Mark Musa. Penguin Classics.
8. William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, ed. Gordon McMullan (Norton Critical Editions), W. W. Norton & Co., ISBN-13: 978-0393926262
9. William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, ed. Grace Ioppolo
(Norton Critical Editions) , W. W. Norton & Co., ISBN-13: 978-0393923575
10. Maria Tatar, ed. The Classic Fairy Tales 2nd edition, (Norton Critical Editions),
W. W. Norton & Co., ISBN-13: 978-0393602975
11. Jane Austen, Emma 4th edition, ed. George Justice (Norton Critical Editions),
W. W. Norton & Co.,ISBN-13: 978-0-393-92764-1
12. Soren Kierkegaard, The Seducer’s Diary, Tr. Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong. Princeton University Press, ISBN-13: 978-0691158419
13. Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness. Tr. Hazel Barnes. Washingon Square Press, ISBN: 978-0671867805
14. Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex. Tr. Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany- Chevallier. Vintage. ISBN: 978-0307277787
Schedule of readings and lectures:
Note: reading/viewing is to be completed before the lecture session in which it will be covered.
All dates of readings are CE/AD unless otherwise indicated.
1 Tu Jan 9 Introduction and overview of course
2 Th Jan 11 What is love and what is good about it? Plato’s Symposium [late 5th century or early 4th century BCE]. Reading: Symposium 172a-201c10, in Reeve pp. 26-60
3 Tu Jan 16 Plato on the true understanding of love and love’s relation to madness
Reading: Symposium 201d-223d10, in Reeve pp. 61-87, Phaedrus 227a-257b5, in Reeve, pp. 88-122
4 Th Jan 18 Ovid on the transformations of nature and love [late 1st century BCE], and a classic film noir.
Reading: Ovid, Metamorphoses Bk. I—includes the stories of Apollo and Daphne, and Io, in Lombardo pp. 5-29
Bk. II lines 445-593—the story of Callisto in Lombardo pp. 45-49
Bk. III lines 147-562—the stories of Diana and Actaeon, Jupiter and Semele, and Narcissus and Echo in Lombardo pp. 69-81
Bk. IV lines 1-456, 623-668—the stories of the daughters of Minyas: Pyramus and Thisbe, Mars and Venus, Lycothoe and the sun, Clytie and the sun, and Salmacis and Hermaphroditus; and the story of Cadmus and Harmonia in Lombardo pp. 91-104, 109-110
Bk. V lines 385-657—the story of Ceres, Proserpina and Pluto in Lombardo pp. 133-140
Film viewing: Out of the Past (dir. Jacques Tourneur, 1949)
5 Tu Jan 23 Ovid and Virgil on the derangements of love, and a classic film noir
Reading: Ovid, Metamorphoses Bk. VI lines 473-780—the story of Procne and Philomela in Lombardo pp. 161-169
Bk. VII lines 1-485, 755-960—the stories of Jason and Medea and Procris and Cephalus in Lombardo pp. 175-188, 196-202
Bk. IX lines 518-915—the stories of Byblis and her brother, and of Iphis and Ianthe in Lombardo pp. 252-263
Bk. X—the stories of Orpheus and Eurydice, Cyparissus and the stag, and the Songs of Orpheus (including the stories of Pygmalion, Myrrha and Cinryas, Venus and Adonis, and Atalanta and Hippomenes) in Lombardo pp. 267-291
Bk. XIV lines 1-149—the stories of Glaucus, Circe and Scylla, and Aeneas and Dido in Lombardo pp. 385-389;
Virgil, Aeneid [late 1st century BCE] Bk. IV—Dido and Aeneas http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/Latin/VirgilAeneidIV.htm
Virgil, Aeneid Bk. VI—Aeneas’s journey to the Underworld
Film viewing: Double Indemnity (dir. Billy Wilder, 1944) 6 Th Jan 25 Platonic love made Christian [late 4th/early 5th century]
Reading: St. Augustine, Confessions Bk One, secs. I-XII (Sheed, pp. 3-14), XIX-XX (Sheed, pp. 19-21); Bk Two (Sheed, pp. 25-34): Bk Three (Sheed, pp. 37-51); Bk Four (Sheed, pp. 55-72): Bk Five, secs. I-II (Sheed, pp. 75-76), VIII-XII (Sheed, pp. 83-90): Bk Six (Sheed, pp. 95-114); Bk Seven (Sheed, pp. 117-137); Bk Eight, secs. I, V, VII-XII (Sheed, pp. 141-142, 147-148, 152-160)
7 Tu Jan 30 Illicit love and Christian duty: St. Augustine on love and lust, and the story of Abelard and Heloise [12th century]
Reading: St. Augustine, Confessions Bk Nine, secs. VII-XIII (Sheed, pp. 174-185); Bk Ten (Sheed, pp. 189-229); Bk Eleven, secs. XIV (Sheed, pp. 242-243), XXVIII-XXXI (Sheed, pp. 254-257); Bk Thirteen, sec IX (Sheed, pp. 294-5); excerpt from St. Augustine, The City of God tr. Marcus Dods (The Modern Library, 1950), Book XIV. pp. 441-477, available online at http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1201.htm; Levitan, Letters of Abelard and Heloise [letters written (in Latin) ca. 1128 CE; first published in Paris in 1616 CE]
The Calamities of Peter Abelard (pp. 10-20, 38-46)
First Letter: Heloise to Abelard (pp. 49-62)
Second Letter: Abelard to Heloise (pp. 63-67)
Third Letter: Heloise to Abelard (pp. 71-84)
Fourth Letter: Abelard to Heloise (pp. 85-104)
Fifth Letter: Heloise to Abelard (pp. 105-106)
Sixth Letter: Abelard to Heloise (pp. 127-143, 149-170)
8 Th Feb 1 Courtly love: short stories/songs
Reading: The Lays of Marie de France [late 12th century] in Gilbert pp. 3-174; Fables Prologue, Fable 25, Fable 44, Fable 45; Short selections from translations from Ovid and from Capellanus (pp. 175-176, 188-189, 191-192, 192-193, 269-279)
MONDAY FEBRUARY 5, 11:59 P.M.: FIRST PAPER DUE
9 Tu Feb 6 Courtly love: chivalry and the invention of romantic love
Reading: Bédier, The Romance of Tristan and Iseut [12th century CE; Bédier’s compilation, 1900 CE] (Gallagher pp. 3-104)
Film viewing: Casablanca (dir. Michael Curtiz; Warner Bros. 1942)
10 Th Feb 8Poetry in the ‘sweet new style’: Dante’s idealized love of Beatrice
Reading: Dante, Vita Nuova ( (Musa pp. 589-649)
11 Tu Feb 13 Dante’s Comedy I: Dante pilgrim lost in the dark wood and the journey downward led by Virgil; how appetite distorts love
Reading: Dante, Inferno [1310-1318] Cantos I-XVII (Musa, pp. 3-94)
12 Th Feb 15 Dante’s Comedy I: Dante pilgrim in the depths; love perverted by violence, fraud and betrayal
Reading: Dante, Inferno Cantos XVIII-XXXIV (Musa, pp. 94-191)
13 Tu Feb 20 Dante’s Comedy II: Dante pilgim witnesses the healing power of love
15 Tu Feb 27MIDTERM EXAMINATION 16 Th Mar 1 A Renaissance comedy of love.
Reading: Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream [1595-1597]
17 Tu Mar 6 A Renaissance tragedy of love. 
Reading: Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet in McMullan pp. 3-98; Susan Snyder, “Romeo and Juliet: Comedy into Tragedy” in MacMullan, pp. 202-211; Jill L. Levenson, “The Definition of Love: Shakespeare’s Phrasing in Romeo and Juliet” in MacMullan, pp. 228-243; Lloyd Davis, “Death-Marked Love: Desire and Presence in Romeo and Juliet“ in MacMullan, pp. 243-257; Arthur Brooke, The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet (1562) available at http://www.shakespeare-navigators.com/romeo/BrookeIndex.html
18 Th Mar 8 Romeo and Juliet go to the movies.
Reading: Courtney Lehman, “Shakespeare with a View: Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet” in MacMullan, pp. 360-377; Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce, from “William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet” in MacMullan, pp. 378-383; Barbara Hodgdon, “William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet: Everything’s Nice in America?” in MacMullan, pp. 384-398
Viewing: Romeo and Juliet (dir. Franco Zeffirelli, Paramount, 1968); Romeo + Juliet (dir. Baz Luhrmann, 20th Century Fox, 1996); West Side Story (dir. Robert Wise, choreographer Jerome Robbins, composer Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, MGM, 1961); and if you have time, Romeo and Juliet (dir. George Cukor, MGM, 1936)
Spring recess Mar 11-18
19 Tu Mar 20 Love, matchmaking, and social class in Jane Austen’s Emma 
Reading: Emma Vol. 1, chapters 1-18 (= pp. 5-106)
20 Th Mar 22 Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill enter the picture; catastrophe on Box Hill.
Reading: Emma Vol. II, chapters 1-18 and Vol. III, chapters 1-9 (= pp. 107-270)
21 Tu Mar 27 True love, or at least, true marriage.
Reading: Emma Vol. III, chapters 10-19 (= pp. 271-333); Marilyn Butler, “Emma” in Justice pp. 385-396; Jan S. Fergus, “Sex and Social Life in Jane Austen’s Novels” in Justice pp. 396-401; Mary Poovey, “The True English Style” in Justice pp. 401-406
Film viewing: Clueless (dir. Amy Heckerling, Paramount 1995)
22 Th Mar 29 Kierkegaard’s Johannes on the love affair as work of art.
Reading: Kierkegaard, The Diary of a Seducer  in Hong & Hong, pp. 3-200
23 Tu Apr 3 Sartre on the nature of consciousness and free choice. Reading: Sartre, Being and Nothingness  pp. 9-44, 49-85
24 Th Apr 5 Sartre on bad faith, the Look and the Other, and the being of value . Reading: Sartre, Being and Nothingness pp. 86-116, 133-146, 340-400
Tu Apr 10 Sartre on concrete relations with others: love and sexual desire.
Reading: Sartre, Being and Nothingness pp. 471-534
Th Apr 12 A foundational feminist existentialist philosophy: Simone de Beauvoir.
Reading: Beauvoir, The Second Sex  Introduction; Vol. I Part Three ‘Myths’: Chapters 1 and 3 in Borde and Malovany-Chevallier pp. 3-17, 159-213, 266-274
MONDAY APRIL 17 11:59 P.M.: SECOND PAPER DUE
Tu Apr 17 Simone de Beauvoir on love and its meaning for free human beings.
Reading: Beauvoir The Second Sex; Vol. II ‘Lived Experience’: Introduction and Part 1 ‘Formation’ Chapter 1 ‘Childhood’ (selection); Vol. II Part 2 ‘Situation’: Chapter 10, ‘Woman’s Situation and Character’; Vol. II Part Three ‘Justifications’: Chapter 12 ‘The Woman in Love’, Chapter 13 ’The Mystic’; Vol. II Part Four ‘Towards Liberation’: Chapter 14 ‘The Independent Woman’, and Conclusion pp. 283-285, 638-664, 683-766.
Th Apr 19 Fairy tales: original and Disney version; love and marriage on a barge (Love Boats I)
Reading: ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Snow White’, and ‘Cinderella’ in Tatar pp. 30-181; Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, “[Snow White and her Wicked Stepmother]” in Tatar pp. 387-393: Marina Warner, “From The Old Wives’ Tale” in Tatar, pp. 405-414; Jack Zipes, ‘Breaking the Disney Spell’ in Tatar pp. 413-435; Maria Tatar, “From Sex and Violence: The Hard Core of Fairy Tales” in Tatar pp. 446-456
Film viewing: Snow White (dir. David Hand, Walt Disney Studios,1937)
Tu Apr 24 Love and social class in 1930s and 1940s Hollywood comedies.
Viewing: The Lady Eve dir. Preston Sturges,1941; My Man Godfrey dir. Gregory LaCava,
Th Apr 26 Love and social class on a small barge in 1930s France and a BIG ship in a BIG movie (set in 1912 but with a 1990s sensibility)
Film viewing: Viewing: L’Atalante by Jean Vigo, Gaumont,1934; Titanic (dir. James Cameron, Paramount and 20th Century Fox, 1997)
Tuesday May 8: Final exam 2:00 p.m to 4:00 p.m.NOTE: University regulations prohibit faculty from permitting students to ‘omit or anticipate’ the final exam, which means that the student must be present to write the exam at the date and time scheduled for the exam. Please make travel plans or other arrangements to your schedule with this in mind; there will be no exceptions, except for a documented emergency.
Students with disabilities
Any student who has registered with the office of Disability Services and Programs (DSP) and who has been identified by DSP as needing specific accommodations will gladly be afforded those accommodations. Please meet with the instructor as early as possible in the semester to discuss appropriate accommodations. I am happy to work with you to tailor course requirements to your specific needs subject to considerations of fairness for all students in the class.
Be sure to familiarize yourself with Section 11 of SCampus
(http://web-app.usc.edu/scampus/1100-behavior-violating-university-standards-and-appropriate-sanctions/). If you are unsure about what constitutes a violation of academic integrity, please see the instructor or your Teaching Assistant. Any violation of academic integrity standards will result in a grade of ‘F’ for the piece of work or, for more serious violations, ‘F’ for the course, and a referral to Judicial Affairs, so please be very careful about this.
Paper submission, deadlines and format
Please submit your papers through Blackboard. Please format your papers as follows: at least 12 point font, double-spaced, at least one inch margins all around, your name and your section meeting time on the top right hand corner of the first page. All electronically submitted papers must have a filename of the format ‘ 288 paper .doc’ (or ’.docx’ or ‘.pdf‘) where is replaced by your surname as it appears in the course roster and the other part indicates whether it’s paper 1 or 2. The University strongly recommends that you do not include your student ID number or any other possibly sensitive identifying information on your papers or any other correspondence with instructors; as long as you include your name as it appears on the course roster we will be able to identify you. Papers submitted after the due date will receive a reduction in grade of one notch (e.g. a paper that would merit the grade of ‘A-‘ will receive a ‘B+’) for each week past the due date. Example: if an A- paper is submitted anytime after the due date but before the next week, it will earn a B+; if it is submitted within a week after that, it will earn a B. Documented illness or emergency or specific disability accommodations constitute exceptions, which will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
All students (and the professor) have a right to a classroom free of distractions. To accomplish this our classroom will be device-free (no use of laptops, cellphones, tablets, or other electronic devices) and distraction-free (no reading material other than the course material currently being discussed, no extended conversations, etc.), except for a designated rear corner of the classroom. (We’ll establish the boundaries of the Neutral Corner (as we’ll call it) when we find out how many students wish to locate themselves there. The primary consideration is that of minimizing distraction to students who wish to pay attention to the lecture, and who may be distracted by device use nearby. It has been shown in several studies that device use in the classroom hinders learning both for the user and for nearby students; see Sana, Weston, and Cepeda, ‘Laptop multitasking hinders classroom learning for both users and nearby peers’ in Computers and Education Vol. 62 (2013) pp. 24-31. If you are concerned that the device ban will adversely affect your note-taking because you have become accustomed to taking notes on a laptop or tablet, you should read this short article, which describes studies showing that learning and comprehension are enhanced by note-taking by hand as opposed to transcription on a laptop: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140424102837.htm. A very recent, succinct, discussion of these topics is found in the Business Day section of the November 22, 2017 issue of the New York Times, ‘Laptops are Great. But not during a Lecture or a Meeting’ by Susan Dynarski, a professor of education, public policy, and economics at the University of Michigan.
I will strive to respond promptly to your e-mail inquiries. Given the volume of e-mail I receive daily, it will help if you will begin the subject line of your messages with ‘288 ’ where is replaced by your name as it is given in the official class roster. Examples: ‘288 Albert Einstein request for a meeting’ or ‘288 Albert Einstein question about submitting the paper’. (No, Einstein is not a student in the course; that’s just an example.)
Statement on Academic Conduct and Support Systems Academic Conduct:
Plagiarism – presenting someone else’s ideas as your own, either verbatim or recast in your own words – is a serious academic offense with serious consequences. Please familiarize yourself with the discussion of plagiarism in SCampus in Part B, Section 11, “Behavior Violating University Standards” policy.usc.edu/scampus-part-b. Other forms of academic dishonesty are equally unacceptable. See additional information in SCampus and university policies on scientific misconduct, http://policy.usc.edu/scientific-misconduct.