Two requests for suggestions

Last year’s instructors of Humanities 1 (Art and Music) developed a new format for the class that is loosely organized around Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a text that has inspired a lot of art and music and is also in large part about human creativity. There were, however, a couple things that didn’t fit as well into that framework, including Svetlana Alpers’ The Vexation of Art: Velasquez and Others. The goal was to provide some art criticism from a woman in a class where it is otherwise difficult to find women’s work to include — and so I ask you, dear readers, if anyone by chance knows of another work of art criticism by a woman that has more direct overlap with art inspired by Ovid. (I know this is a weirdly specific request and probably something of a long-shot.)

In addition, for my elective over Being and Time, I have tentatively decided to begin with a couple days each on phenomenology and hermeneutics, then work through The Concept of Time (i.e., the unpublished book review that is billed as “the first draft of Being and Time,” not the lecture series with a similar title). Given that we’ll be reading through Being and Time in painstaking detail, I thought using his shorter “first draft” would be a good way to get an overview of the project as a whole without biasing them toward any particular scholar’s interpretation of it. A colleague of mine has a good text of Husserl’s in mind, and another has recommended some passages from Gadamer — but I would prefer to use Dilthey if possible, given that that’s who Heidegger is directly discussing. Does anyone know of a good essay or chunk that we could spend a day or two on?

Please note: I am not planning to use any secondary sources for the Heidegger course, so I would prefer that you not make any recommendations of that kind. (And just to make sure: yes, I am aware of Simon Critchley’s online introduction to Being and Time.)

10 thoughts on “Two requests for suggestions

  1. I would pair Susan Sontag on photography with Susan Bordo on the male body. Bordo has a chapter “Beauty (re)discovers the male body” that’s just fantastic, and could really change up the approach. For art inspired by Ovid, I hope to heavens you are using two different versions of Gerome’s *Pygmalion and Galatea.* Very interesting to compare them.

  2. Mieke Bal’s essay, “The Knee of Narcissus,” might be interesting to you. She also has a chapter called “Narcissus Now” in her book “Quoting Caravaggio” that covers some of the same ground. Bal is great. The problem is that her writing can be full of theory jargon, especially for students.

  3. i always wished that i had read aristotle’s ‘categories’ before ‘being and time’. i think it provides a pretty elegant demonstration of the ways that traditional ontology has sources in the grammar of everyday language, and it serves as a fresh reminder that when heidegger contrasts categories from existentials he’s not just talking about ‘classes of stuff’. it’s also very short, and repetitive, so you could excerpt part and do it in a day.

  4. When I teach Dilthey to postgrads as part of a course on method, I use extracts from Part IV of the old Selected Writings anthology.

  5. Barbara Hanning’s work on early opera is wonderful:

    B.R. Hanning : ‘Glorious Apollo: Poetic and Political Themes in the First Opera’, Renaissance Quarterly, xxxii (1979), 485–513

    B.R. Hanning : Of Poetry and Music: Power, Humanism, and the Creation of Opera (Ann Arbor, 1980)

    If these interest you, I could probably find more…

  6. Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Idols, Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations, Birth of Biopolitics, and Empire of the Senseless by Kathy Acker.

    Then, you might realize what “being” actually means, and see that Heidegger is a load of nonsense, understand why analytic philosophers do not take continental philosophy seriously, and work out that what Foucault actually means by care of the self and the statement “I am a Nietzschean”.

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