No, even I wouldn't call a class "Love"! This class was originally going to be a team taught course with my friend Marjorie Levinson, from the English Department at Michigan. Marjorie is a specialist in British Romanticism and has written about the English poet John Keats. And I had been fascinated by a book that Julio Cortazar had written back in the late 1940s, before he moved from Argentina to Paris and became a celebrated writer of fiction. Back then he was just a literature professor and he wrote a long book called Imagen de John Keats (Image of John Keats). Besides offering an insightful perspective on Keats and on other British Romantic poets, the book inspired me a great deal as I was writing my book on Julio. It was something like a model. So Marjorie and I were going to teach a course on Cortazar and Keats. But then Marjorie got a sabbatical and so I was left with this course called "Cortazar and Keats".
I taught the Keats book, but little by little, in the hands of a eager and adventurous seniors from the University of Michigan, the class itself came to be called "the love class." Little by little, we came to see that love was at the heart of Cortazar's work on Keats and we came to feel the challenge posed by that book entailed learning to "write what we love." Not write about what we love, as though distant, detached, separate from our beloved. But to write as if infected, transformed, mutated by what we love. The students worked in small writing workshops, organized more or less according to whether their beloved was a book, film, song, person, place, event, or something else. At the same time, we worked together in a large group to see what we could learn from looking closely at Julio wrote what he loved. Each week, in addition, I would bring students a quote pertaining directly or indirectly to love from some author I admire and the students would write a 108 word response (no more no less) to this quote. I don't know that I still have all of those quotes. I have some of them and I'll be bringing them into this page slowly as I recover them.