University of Notre Dame

On Interpretation: The Art of Caressing Art

Course Number: LLRO 13186-1
Instructor: Louis MacKenzie

In this seminar, our truck will be with “texts” from various registers of art—for example, songs by Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen; films by Martin Scorsese; poems by Baudelaire, Rimbaud and by those still at their craft, an opera by Bizet or Mozart. This variety of sources is chosen with one purpose in mind: to encourage techniques of reading from the inside of the text outward. To this end, our interest is more on the how than on the what. In other words, how do we go about finding the seam, the portal through which to enter a text. Written work will be publicly scrutinized in the hopes of also cultivating the fine, difficult and all too often lost art of self-critique. Students under the impression that they “can’t” do textual analysis are especially welcome, as, of course, are those for whom literature and the arts are already a source of joy and an engine of growth.