The Reality of Fiction
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Division: Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts
Department: Lang College
Course Number: LNGC 1499
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: Yes
- Cultural Studies
- Film & Video History, Theory & Criticism
Beginning with a most basic question, “what is fiction?,” this course will attempt to understand how fiction is defined against reality, and how this distinction, as well as the subtle shades differentiating truth from lies, verisimilitude from simulation, become difficult to maintain. Is there a brute reality outside of narrative? Is there an aesthetic reality or a narrative time and space? Can fiction both fortify and critique what we take to be reality? How do narratives marshal belief in the stories they tell and the images they present? We will begin with a series of foundational texts, including Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Poetics, and Denis Diderot’s Rameau’s Nephew; we will then turn to modern contexts, including Friedrich Nietzsche’s “Truth and Lying in an Extra-Moral Sense,” Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and Henry James’s “The Turn of the Screw.” We will conclude by testing these frameworks in the contemporary, examining Janet Cardiff’s audio-tour The Missing Voice, Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow Up, as well as numerous media events from the assassination of JFK to Desert Storm.
Open to Undergraduate students.
Open to Freshman students.