Survival Stories: How do Stories Survive and Help Us Survive?
Aristotle said it was laughter, but now fiction seems to be what distinguishes us from other animals. This course will try to honor both Aristotle and modern theories by reading several literary masterpieces that are both funny and complex. How might these stories help us survive and how did the stories themselves survive across cultures? Our investigation will take shape around one of the great masterpieces of world literature, Boccaccio's Decameron, which not only transforms earlier traditions such as The Arabian Nights and Apuleius’ The Golden Ass but also inspires later postmodern experiments including Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveller.
Martin Eisner, email@example.com