It is sometimes costly to love the person we want to love. S/he can have any number of the "wrong" attributes—race, sex, nationality, economic background, political party affiliation—when seen through the eyes of others. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, for instance, details just how fragile love between two people can be when faced with massive familial and cultural prejudices and pressures.
There are many works of art that posit and follow such scenarios of “passion” versus “respectability,” and this course delves into three novels that examine the cost, as well as the complexities that often accompany love.
Participants will have read and come ready to discuss Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth at the first class session (June 21). Set in New York City, the novel chronicles the sexual awakening of protagonist, Lily Bart, and the price she pays for trying to express herself as a sexual being. First published in 1905 and regarded as scandalous by some, the novel is today viewed as an exploration of women who insist on having ideas and passions of their own.
On July 19, the class will examine the once-controversial, now-classic narrative, Giovanni's Room, by James Baldwin. Set in the 1950s Paris of American expatriates, the work is a moving story of a young man caught between desire and conventional morality, and the social alienation that ensues. It also depicts an important aspect of the arts scene in the mid-20th century.
E.M. Forster's Maurice will be the work discussed on August 16. A tale of same-sex love in early 20th-century England, the novel traces the life of its protagonist from a boy of 14 to his highly structured coming of age at Cambridge, and ultra-conventional business life working for his father’s business. Written in the early 20th century but not published until 1971, after the author’s death, the novel was ahead of its time because of its affirmation of love between two men. Of Maurice, Forster wrote: "Happiness is its keynote.”
Required: Any edition—Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth; James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room; and E.M. Forster, Maurice.
Cancellations are subject to a ten-percent processing fee if received five or fewer working days before the program start. Refunds are not granted if you cancel on or after the first day of the program. Notice may be emailed or faxed to: firstname.lastname@example.org | 612-624-5359.