How do the power of human desires leads us to delude ourselves and those around us? The goal of C Lit 240 is to hone your individual writing skills while also giving you the opportunity to grow as a critical reader. To this end, the course will examine an international selection of novellas using the themes of reality and fantasy, as a point of comparison for texts and as a starting point for composition. The novellas are Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis, Honore de Balzac's The Unknown Masterpiece, Thomas Mann's Death in Venice, and Arthur Schnitzler's Dream Story. We will explore how characters' desires--whether they revolve around aesthetic, sexual or identity issues--propel them them toward fantastic events or ideologies. Also, we will pay close attention to how these authors depict society and how their characters are defined or deformed by its conventions and demands.