The Bittersweet Honesty of Rachel Cusk Part II

Human and Social Sciences

Course Description

Rachel Cusk has written two memoirs about the upheaval she experienced during the transition to motherhood and the subsequent dissolution of her marriage. Hailed by many as honest and truthful, they were so severely censured by some that Cusk was unable to write for a period of time. Then, over the last five years, she produced a trilogy of novels widely praised as an important innovation in the writing of fiction. This course will explore Cusk’s memoirs and recent fiction in two parts.

II - The Ethical Significance of Attending and Listening    

The second part will explore how Cusk’s recent trilogy—Outline, Transit, Kudos—relates her narrator’s discovery of a new position from which to pursue her life in the aftermath of personal turmoil. We will consider the following questions, among others: What can we discover about how to live by listening instead of talking? Might it be that we only undergo personal change indirectly, by way of a detour through our encounters with others? How can we distinguish between an attentiveness to others that is masochistically submissive and one that freely and assertively evaluates that which it observes? Does ethical discernment at times entail a dimension of power, even violence, insofar as one might notice what others don’t want you to see?

Please note, that all courses have a maximum enrollment of 18 students.

Priority is given to students who pay upon registration.

For fully registered courses, a waiting list will be created. Should vacancies develop, those on the waiting list will be contacted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Course Details

First Session: Thursday, April 2nd 2020

Course Length: 12 weeks, Thursdays, 6:15 PM - 8:15 PM

Discussion Team: Imogen Brian, Michael O'Brien, Danny Schouela

Course Fees: 

$150.00 (tuition fee)

$100.00 (promotion for new students)


Administrative Fee:



$185.00 (tuition fee)

$135.00 (promotion for new students)



Please note, degree students must schedule an appointment with the Admissions and Accreditation Committee to register for courses for this term. Degree students should not register online.

The course fees are refundable in full before the second session. After the second session, an administrative fee of $50 for the withdrawal will be applied. Refunds will not be issued after the third session.

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