hello world, i got a job! a job i really wanted. next semester, i’ll be teaching a course at Calarts called, “‘A Fire That Does Not Burn’: Erotic Literature in Feminist Discourse.” life is quite good. i have lots to keep me busy till january when i start teaching, like prepare my syllabus and schedule and work on outstanding projects. like my book, which has been on hiatus for a few months. but i can feel it. the wheels have been greased. read my course description and rough reading list behind the cut:
“A Fire That Does Not Burn”: Erotic Literature in Feminist Discourse
The sexual and literary principle of delayed gratification, theorist Thomas March argues, is a defining principle of erotica in relation to pornography. March quotes Anais Nin in naming this fundament of erotica, “the fire that does not burn,” or a fire that burns in perpetuity rather than steadily and single-mindedly consuming everything in its path.
It is a common occurrence that erotica is either conflated with pornography or positioned as a feminine or womanly alternative to masculinist pornography. While this course does pose the questions of what erotica and pornography are, it does not seek to absolutely define these terms. This course, rather, raises questions about the extent to which erotica and pornography are in a binary relationship to each other, about the extent to which erotica can be considered a “feminine” or “feminist-friendly” incarnation of sex writing, and about controversial approaches and theories regarding women’s sexual liberation. In addition to considering various definitions of erotica and its discursive relationships, the question, “what is feminist literature?” will also become important as we explore the discourse of erotica within a feminist framework.
Thematically, this class is concerned with the perpetuation of desire, alternative definitions of pleasure, the poetry of the erotic, eroticized reading experiences and literary seductions, metaphorical erections, the role of sensual (not necessarily sexual) delights, and the importance of pain, play, and a variety of excruciations.
Barthes, Roland. The Pleasure of the Text. Hill and Wang. New York: 1975.
Bright, Susie. Best American Erotica 2006. Cleis Press. San Francisco: 2006. [Excerpts].
Dworkin, Andrea, Marcia Ann Gillespie, Norma Ramos, and Ntozake Shange. “Where Do We Stand on Pornography?” Ms. Magazine. Vol. IV, Number 4. January/February 1994.
Kiss and Tell: Blackbridge, Persimmon, Lizard Jones, and Susan Stewart. Her Tongue On My Theory. Press Gang Publishers. Vancouver, BC: 2002.
Lorde, Audre. “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power”. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Crossing Press. New York: 1984.
March, Thomas M. “‘A Fire That Does Not Burn’: A Note on the Erotic Aesthetic of Anis Nin.” Anais Nin Foundation. Los Angeles: 1998.
Maso, Carol. Aureloe. City Lights Books. San Francisco: 1996.
Miller, Edmund. “Erato Throws a Curve: Anais Nin and the Elusive Feminine Voice in Erotica.” Anais Nin: Literary Perspectives. Suzanne Nalbantian. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997. 164-181.
Nin, Anais. Delta of Venus. Bantam Books. New York: 1969. [Excerpts]
—– Little Birds. Pocket Books. New York: 1979. [Excerpts]
—– “Eroticism in Women”. In Favor of the Sensitive Man and Other Essays. Harvest Books. New York: 1967.
Slugocki, Lillian Ann, and Eric Cressida Wilson. The Erotica Project. Cleis Press. San Francisco: 2000.
Smith, Susan Branch. “Seduction or Recreation?” Reviews of Herotica 6 and Best Lesbian Erotica 1999. Lambda Book Report, April 1999, Vol. 7 Issue 9.
Queen, Carol. The Leather Daddy and the Femme. Down There Press. San Francisco: 1998.