Classic 239 :  Radical Formalisms - 002
Course Catalog No: 31325
Doe Library 308C
Mario Telò

In the current return to formalism, the humanities have seen a re-evaluation of poetic form in terms of its capacity for unruly, queer ways of being and becoming, or unbecoming. The unsettling geometries of poetic form—its breaks and cuts, as well as its power of obstruction through repetition, congestion, expansion, and contraction—create a potential for resistance or willfulness, or wild escapes from meaning. Puns, marked sonic patterns and repetitions, as well as compounds, rhetorical tropes, enjambments, elisions, and unexpected syntactical geometries: all exert a fleshy pressure, a fugitive, excessive impetus against language and textuality as enforcers of meaning, linearity, narrative, or other symbolic imperatives of order and telos. Radical formalism is the name we give to strategies for defamiliarizing—revitalizing while disrupting and unsettling—modes of formalistic reading practiced in deconstruction and psychoanalysis, but also various trends of post-critique. This is an opportunity to bring into the close analysis of Greek and Latin poetry modes of emancipatory thinking such as queer, trans, and especially critical race theories. In this seminar we will familiarize ourselves with various radical formalisms through conversations with various guests who will send us a short chapter beforehand to discuss in class. The guests will be: Lucy Alford, Stephen Best, Tom Geue, Sean Gurd, Laura Jansen, Sarah Nooter, Ellis Neyra, Sarah Olsen, Victoria Rimell, Victoria Wohl. The assignment of each week will thus include primary readings (in Greek, Latin, and English) relevant to the guest’s chapter and theoretical secondary readings helpful to understand and discuss the particular approachs or angles privileged by the guest.