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Reading Groups

Anatomy of Desire with Lila Azam Zanganeh

Five Sessions Sundays, 1:00 pm EDT - 2:30 pm EDT June 2 to September 8, 2024

Online via Zoom

Meeting Dates:
6/2, 6/23, 7/14, 8/4, 9/8
Online via Zoom

The course will take its readers through 900 years of French desire. We will focus on desire as the engine of the novel, both as psychic energy and pure libido.

We will begin with The Romance of Tristan and analyze the relationship between desire and obstacle(s) in the realm of courtly love but also in the genesis and history of the European novel. With our second book, Dangerous Liaisons, we will delve into the architecture and erotic philosophy that allow the characters (and us, as readers) to desire and expand desire into an ethic. The Charterhouse of Parma, our third book, will delve into the rise and fall of the romantic hero and the ultimate staying power of “the happy few.” Our fourth work, Memoirs of Hadrian, will help us analyze the close and mesmerizing relationship between desire and loss. And finally, our last book, A Girl’s Story, will take us through a contemporary exploration of desire and its tortuous, sensual, relation to shame. Who have we been? And who are we now?

What to expect from this reading group:  This course will be a mix of conversational and instructor-driven.

Please Note: All virtual classes are recorded. Please click here for information about our recording policy.


Led by

  • Lila Azam Zanganeh

    Lila Azam Zanganeh

    Lila Azam Zanganeh

    Lila Azam Zanganeh is a French-born writer residing in New York. She is the author of The Enchanter published internationally and the forthcoming Exit Paradise. She has taught languages and literature at Harvard University and is fluent in seven languages.