Open to Gallatin first-year students only.
From the first century CE when the Roman poet Ovid wrote his Metamorphoses , writers have been fascinated with the idea of transformation. From the most mythic creation stories to gender transformation and fluidity to the way authors “transform” an experience into literature, “transformation” has proven to be an enduring and flexible theme across the literary world. Beginning with selections from Ovid, this course will chart transformation across poetry, prose, and drama. Readings may include Ovid’s Metamorphoses , the anonymous Sir Gawain and the Green Knight , John Lyly’s pastoral drama Gallathea , Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde , Virginia Woolf’s Orlando , sections from T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land , and Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red , as well as some theories on the construction of identity and its malleability. What does it mean to become someone or something else, especially when “becoming” that person is beyond your control? What writing techniques do authors use to express the way transformation effects relationships, character growth, and the world around them? How are previous stories “transformed” through rewriting, and how does the writing process “transform” history? As a course devoted to writing and the writing process, this class will explore these texts by thinking critically about how and for what purpose authors use “transformation” in their writing while focusing on transforming our own writing along the way.
First-Year Program: Writing Seminars (FIRST-UG)