Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World & Literary Theory

Explore Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World in light of psychoanalysis, linguistics, hyperreality, and more in this 10 week course.

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World & Literary Theory

Course Description

The Reading Beyond Murakami course series invites students and fans of Murakami to dive even deeper into his fiction through class lectures, group study, and supplemental reading. We spend time discussing various theoretical concepts that inform the novel. In the fully online course, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World & Literary Theory, we explore psychoanalysis, linguistics, hyperreality and more.

Participants explore complex ideas in simple terms just like Murakami does in his stories. There is no expectation of prior knowledge of these subjects, nor prior reading of Murakami. A suggested reading schedule for the novel is provided that will accompany weekly discussions, live chats, and supplemental reading, but students can also complete each unit at their own pace. This fully online Murakami course allows readers to learn more about Haruki Murakami from the comfort of their own homes.

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World & Literary Theory is a twelve week online adult literature course designed for life-long learners wanting to study Murakami and take their knowledge of his literature even deeper. This course focuses on a single novel, the 1985 mind-bending work, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, and explores psychoanalysis, semiotics, the unconscious, the divided self, the shadow self, hyperreality, translation, and more. The reading load is about forty pages a week so that students have time to read the supplemental texts and understand the various theories that enrich a reading of this novel.

Course Overview

Course Introduction Introduction
Beginning the Novel - What is Literary & Critical Theory?
Week 2
Down the Rabbit Hole - A Matrix for Understanding the Novel
Week 3
Breaking Down Binaries, Systems, & Language - Ferdinand de Saussure's Course on General Linguistics Week 4
Unpacking the Unconscious - Signmun Freud's The Unconscious Week 5
Identity & the Individual - Jacques Lacan's The Mirror Stage Week 6
Existential Psychiatry - R.D. Laing's The Divided Self & the Split Mind
Week 7
Hyperreality - Jean Baudrillard's Simulacra and Simulacrum Week 8
Shedding the Shadow - Jung's Shadow Archetype Week 9
Deconstructing Death - Sigmund Freud's Beyond the Pleasure Principle Week 10
Lost in Translation - The Limitations of English & Effects on Interpretation Week 11
Literary Afterlife - Analyzing the Novel's Influence on Culture Conclusion

What am I Going to Get From This Course?

You will deepen your appreciation of Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World and understand some of the more dominant themes that Murakami explores. Stories are designed to entertain, but they are far more amusing when fully understood. While Murakami is a popular author and has a sort of cult following, readers are rarely given the chance to unpack his work in a community or learn about it beyond a few online book reviews. This course brings readers and ideas together for a dynamic and low-pressure learning experience.

Clear Language

One of the most difficult parts of studying critical and literary theories and philosophies is the impossible to understand language. This course penetrates that language and breaks it down in simple terms that readers can understand and appreciate so they might apply their understanding of literary and critical theories to better inform their interpretation of the novel.

Theory, Literature, & Translation Tutorials

Each unit includes video tutorials and a workbook to walk you through the hard-to-grasp concepts. This course slowly builds the foundation for each concept by considering the thinker and the context in which it was first articulated. After we establish the foundation, we consider how each idea is meant to function within the novel.

Further Reading & Resources

An extended reading list is provided for each unit, linking to articles, interviews, and other works that relate to the concepts discussed. If you find you can never learn enough about Murakami, these resources will keep you reading as you await his next novel.

Written & Live Discussions

Students are invited to discuss the novel and the material with other participants, ask their own questions and share their interpretations each week on the written discussion forum within the course.

We also meet together for two live online video conference chats. This gives participants an opportunity to connect with other Murakami readers to discuss the ideas presented and their own interpretations. It is also a great time to ask any questions related to the lecture material and theoretical concepts presented in the course.

This Course Includes:

  • Unit Workbook
  • Video Tutorials
  • Discussion Forum
  • Live Video Chats
  • Further Reading & Resources
  • Email Support
  • Private Facebook Group Access

Your Instructor

Jessica S. Manuel
Jessica S. Manuel

Jessica S. Manuel earned her B.A. in English with an emphasis in Critical Theory and a minor in Theological Studies from The Master's University. She went on to earn her M.A. in English (Literature) from San Francisco State University where she studied 19th-20th Century Literatures with a special studies emphasis in Critical Theory. After examining the intersections of psychoanalysis and contemporary literature, she wrote her thesis on Haruki Murakami's use of the unconscious in Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.

After finishing her degree, she continued her education at University of California, San Diego where she studied and earned certificates in teaching adult learners, literature, and online teaching and learning. She offers online adult literature courses for life-long learners through Book Oblivion Academy and also teaches writing and literature courses at the college level.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start?
This 10 week course officially begins Monday, March 5, 2018. Enrolled students will access the course introduction materials on March 1, 2018.
Are you going to be studying Murakami or just other thinkers?
Yes, Murakami! The main focus of each course is the novel it is centered on. The first is Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. We'll explore how various theories, philosophers, and concepts influence the ideas in the novel. There will also be links to interviews, articles, and short stories (all of which are either about Murakami or by Murakami) that speak to the ideas as well.
What is the reading load?
We discuss about 4 chapters of the novel a week, which is about 40 pages. In addition, there are articles, interviews, and supplemental reading made available that is entirely optional. There is no required reading the first and last week of the course.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days of the course and we will give you a full refund.

Enroll Now!