Philosophy as literature, literature as philosophy: the legacy of Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche
Time: 12:30 - 14:30
Foundational for both existentialism and postmodernism, these philosophers were the great stylists of the post enlightenment era. In examining their works, this course will explore the unprecedented reciprocity between the literary and the philosophical in the redefining of the self and subjectivity.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HP105
Duration: 12 sessions (over 12 weeks)
What is the course about?
Schopenhauer’s, The World as Will and Representation; Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling; and Nietzsche’s Gay Science, Beyond Good Evil and the Genealogy of Morals are seminal philosophical texts but also great works of literature. Their approach to philosophy reverberates through the literary experimentation of the many giants of European Literature from Dostoevsky to Kafka and Camus to Becket and Borges. The influences of Schopenhauer in particular find profound expression in the poetry of Ted Hughes.
In recent times, following these influences, Richard Rorty has defined the relationship between literature and philosophy as being about the creation and displacement of strong metaphors. In this respect, Rorty has repeatedly and fundamentally engaged with the positions of Adorno and Marcuse and other Frankfurt school thinkers who have sought to challenge and redefine the Enlightenment project.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
William Blake as an anticipation of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche
The key concepts of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche
Kierkegaard’s literary philosophical experiment
Schopenhauer in Tolstoy and Ted Hughes
Camus and his version of the death of God
Adorno’s Nietzschian Narratives
Richard Rorty on Metaphor.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
An overview of the relationship between philosophical and literary texts
Familiarity with some of the milestones in European thought
Confidence in reading philosophical texts.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is meant for people who enjoy literature and have an interest in philosophy.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The format will be interactive lectures and analyses of text with opportunities to ask questions and discuss.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Learners will need access to a printer while the course is online. The following books, which may be helpful but not compulsory, are available in low-cost editions:
1. Schopenhauer – A Very Short Introduction by Christopher Janaway
2. Kierkegaard – A Very Short Introduction by Patrick Gardiner
3. How to Read Nietzsche by Keith Ansell Pearson.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You might be interested in HP130 Philosophy and cultural theory, with the same tutor.
Barrie Selwyn is a regular tutor at City Lit. Formerly the Principal of Kingston Adult Education, he is the lead tutor for the School of Ideas at Richmond and Hillcroft Adult Community College. Educated at Hackney Downs School, Sussex University and University of London, he is a highly respected adult educationalist specializing in philosophy and literature. Barrie is the Chair of the Kingston Philosophy Café, which he helped to set up in 2007. He is a regular speaker around London philosophy venues, talking on topics such as Nietzsche and the Frankfurt School, Kant and post-Kantian Idealism and Richard Rorty and post-analytic philosophy. He is also an alto saxophonist and a keen jazz fan.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.