Decisions and Revisions
FYS 006, CRN 6456
In this course, we will explore "texts"—including novels, short stories, movies, music video, and drama—that take different perspectives on the practices of adaptation and revision. In some cases, the works we read will revise themselves over and over, as with Ken Grimwood's novel Replay. Others, like Krapp's Last Tape, feature characters obsessively reliving (and revising) their own memories of the past. Some—including Mohsin Hamid's How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia—"recycle" popular forms, in this case, self-help literature. Alison Bechdel's graphic memoire Fun Home uses visual depiction to retell difficulty episodes from the author's youth, allowing her and her audience to come to terms with a partly factual, partly fictionalized past. And Joyce Carol Oates's short story retells one of the most famous stories of Russian literature from an alternative point of view. Lars von Trier's film collaboration with Jorgen Leth titled The Five Obstructions will structure our progress through these explorations and experiments. It consists of a short film, "The Perfect Human," and five re-makes and will serve as the inspiration for the six main essay assignments of the course. These assignments will invite participants in the course to engage in their own experiments with revising, adapting, and re-envisioning their work from multiple perspectives and in multiple modes.