A young girl reading a magazine outside

What do we mean when we say a story is relatable? This course will examine the different ways in which we can explain the relationships between readers and books (or movies): why we like or dislike characters, how reading might shape our attitudes and behaviors, and whether some kinds of books might be bad for us or even dangerous to read. We will move between theories that explain this relationship and books that have famously or controversially encouraged or discouraged readerly response. Theorists may include Louis Althusser, Bertolt Brecht, Frantz Fanon, Diana Fuss, Jacques Lacan, Laura Mulvey, and Jan Radway. Texts will include Charlotte Brontë's, Jane Eyre, Brecht's Mother Courage, Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther, Shakespeare's The Tempest, and likely some comic books and popular movies (e.g. Pretty Woman).