Like many university teachers, I have had to switch to online teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of this endeavour, in the rare moments that I was not surrounded by my children, I recorded a few of the lectures that I teach as part of the BA1 course History of the Western Arts 4: 1945–present.
In the first lecture, students are introduced to the development of contemporary literature in general. The lecture refers to the work of Simone de Beauvoir, whose importance for the present is emphasized by Kate Kirkpatrick’s recent biography.
In the second lecture we explore the intersection of literature and existentialism. To see how Kierkegaard’s ideas return in contemporary films, consider this fragment from the film Margin Call (2011). The following clip from Bojack Horseman provides a good illustration of the ideas of Sartre. In the lecture, I also consider Paul Celan's 'Todesfuge'. You might want to hear the way in which Celan himself reads this haunting poem. Celan's reading begins slowly, but the rhythm gradually increases, (possibly) securing a mesmerizing effect.