Genius and Madness in Literature - Summer College Programs

Cornell University

  • July 16 2017

  • New dates coming soon

  • 10th - College senior

  • Yes


Genius and Madness in Literature / Cornell Summer College Programs for High School Students The information on this site pertains to the Summer College 2015 program. If you would like to be notified when 2016 information and applications are available, please join the Summer College announcement list. We also invite you to become a fan of our Summer College Facebook Page. Please see our Upcoming program dates page for 2016 program dates. What is the connection between genius and madness? What explains the close association between creativity and insanity found in cultures from antiquity to the present? What pushes genius or madness beyond the pale of normalcy_СУand how do we define "normal"? In Genius and Madness in Literature, you_Сйll join others in lively discussions about these questions as we try to determine whether creativity is ingenuity, inspiration, or insanity. During this three-week program, Summer College's sole literature course, you'll learn advanced methods of critical thinking and literary analysis as we read from novels and medical works, poetry and philosophy, novellas and historical accounts. We'll consider canonical texts from European and American figures such as Aristotle, Plato, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Shakespeare, Immanuel Kant, Michel Foucault, Sigmund Freud, E.T.A. Hoffmann, HonorХ© de Balzac, Heinrich von Kleist, Friedrich Nietzsche, Denis Diderot, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edgar Allan Poe, Franz Kafka, Paul Auster, Salvadore Dali, Luis BuХ±uel, and Thomas Mann, among others. We_Сйll trace the history of social and artistic transgression, watch films, and discuss when and why our culture decided to call a madman a genius and a genius mad. Morning classes will be supplemented by daily afternoon discussion sessions and writing workshops. These are designed to improve your interpretive skills and introduce you to the fundamentals of college-level writing. Twice a week, you_Сйll hear talks on related topics ranging from avant-garde film to Kant's philosophy of art and madness in classical music, given by guest lecturers from select humanities departments, such as comparative literature, Medieval studies, history, anthropology, art history, romance studies, German studies, music, and philosophy. You'll also enjoy occasional field trips to the Johnson Art Museum. In this class you_Сйll read approximately twenty pages per night and write three five-page papers. The reading materials are very interesting and often fun to read! You'll be enrolled in Genius and Madness in Literature (GERST 2250). This course meets Mondays through Fridays, 9:00-11:45 a.m., and Mondays through Thursdays, 1:30-3:00 p.m. Note: You may want to consider combining this program with another three-week program to create a six-week Dual Program. The Man of the Crowd read it online (read pages 62-74) These titles and materials will be available at The Cornell Store. Students and their families are cordially invited to an informal graduation on Saturday, August 1 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Students will each receive a Cornell University Summer College certificate and be able to take farewell photos with their friends and faculty. Note that attendance is not required, but is highly recommended and is a nice way to conclude the program. Dress is smart casual. Before making travel plans, review the checkout dates and times for your program. We strictly adhere to these deadlines. Anette Schwarz is an associate professor and chair of Cornell's Department of German Studies. Before coming to Cornell in 1997, she taught at Yale University, where she received a prestigious award for interdisciplinary teaching and curriculum development. Her research focuses on the relationship between emotions and literature, and she has published on the history of melancholia and the uncanny and is currently working on a book about philosophies of the tragic. All of her teaching is interdisciplinary in nature, and she enjoys reading German literature in the wider context of other European literatures. "I have always thought of teaching as a great learning experience: my ideal is to create an atmosphere of lively discussions, thought-provoking questions, and not-so-easy answers. I truly enjoy the manifold interpretations a literary text affords when wonderful students discover the art of reading and unveil the hidden meanings of a work of art. I love to share the excitement of sudden realizations: when together we make connections between ideas that stem from different centuries; when together we make connections between different disciplines (such as medicine and literature); when together we notice when a piece of literature breaks with its culture and starts a new tradition. For me, a teacher is like a detective who with the help of the students follows clues and signs in order to decipher the mysterious world of literature. All we need is curiosity, attention to details, and enthusiasm." The following students have attended this program. Read about their experiences! "I gained so much from Summer College: college class experience, improved study and work habits, insight into what I may decide to major in when I attend college, and lifelong friends. I liked that the afternoon section had a variety of guest lectures from other professors in different departments. I also enjoyed the Writing Workshop section because it helped me improve my essay-writing." _СУ Elizabeth Young "(Prof.) Schwarz was fabulous. She subtly guided our class discussions to the main ideas that the authors we were reading had tried to prove. The TA was outstanding (and) greatly improved my writing skills. The program was incredible." _СУ Walker Mimms

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Opportunity Information

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Application Deadline

New dates coming soon


Ithaca, New York


July 16 2017

Financial AID


Grade Levels

10th / 11th / 12th / College sophomore / College junior / College senior

Last Updated on

August 9 2017

Opportunity Types

Summer Program

Important Dates

Start Date

July 16 2017

End Date

August 5 2017

Deadline Date

New dates coming soon


No multiple sessions

Arts & Design