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First-Year Research Seminar: The Surreal Thing

Semester and Year SP 2016
Course Number FIRST-UG715
Section 001
Instructor Eugene Vydrin
Days MW
Time 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Units 4
Level U


Open to Gallatin first-year students only.


The Surrealist movement sought to transform the self and the world, each by way of the other. The world was to be remodeled in the image of the liberated psyche, alienation and repression overcome by a passionate exchange between the self and its environment. Inside and outside would continually change places as the psyche discovered its own desires written in the cipher of material things and assimilated these fragments of reality into its language of dreams. Inanimate objects would come to life, speaking the language of the self, while the self would take its place among them as a fellow thing of the world. This class will explore Surrealism as a method of interpreting the material world and a model for living in it. Students will write essays based on close readings of literary and theoretical texts and their own encounters with urban spaces, as well as a research essay. Readings may include essays by Freud, Marx, Kracauer, Balakian, Caws, Krauss, and Jameson; poetry and prose by Eluard, Breton, Cahun, Césaire, Aragon; films by Buñuel and Dalí, Deren, and Hitchcock.


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Course Type

First-Year Program: Research Seminars (FIRST-UG)