This course attempts to probe human beings’ most brutish core. As we challenge our understandings of the terms “savage” and “civilized,” we consider what it means to be human on the most fundamental level. We’ll delve into the idea of “going native” as revealed in Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Tarzan of the Apes, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Rudyard Kipling’s “The Man Who Would Be King,” and William Shakespeare’s King Lear. We’ll contemplate the notion of the “noble savage” through the science fiction lenses of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. We’ll explore the construction of “the other” in two versions of Medea: Euripides’s classical version, and Christa Wolf’s modern retelling. Finally, we’ll examine Blanche Dubois’s urge not to “hang back with the brutes” in Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire, and question her dependence on such things as “poetry and music” and “tenderer feelings.” We’ll supplement our literary texts with theoretical readings by Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.