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Narrative Theory

ENGL 303
Spring 2011
Section: 01  
Certificates: Social, Cultural and Critical Theory

Narrative, one great critic suggests, may be the central function of the human mind. It is, as another once wrote, "simply there, like life itself." As these claims indicate, the study of narrative is the study of some of the most fundamental aspects of our collective life. This course provides an introduction to the tradition of narrative theory through a sustained engagement with three core narrative-theoretical concepts: structure, text, and time. A single book will anchor and orient each of the course's units: for structure, Vladimir Propp's Morphology of the Folktale; for text, Roland Barthes' S/Z; for time, Gérard Genette's Narrative Discourse. Herman Melville's novella Benito Cereno will supply our "control text": a narrative to which we will return as we study the theory, and through which we will test the powers and the limits, both analytical and historical, of our theorists. In each of our units, we will begin with a careful reading of our main theorist, move on to consider work that elaborates on the theory, and then turn to robust approaches-- Marxist, historicist, queer, sociological--that challenge or modify the theoretical terms with which we started.

Essential Capabilities: Interpretation, Writing
Students will develop skills of close interpretation of narrative form -- including ways of reading that point far beyond "the text itself" to sociological and historical questions -- and will express these skills through intensive writing assignments.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA ENGL
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (CSCT)(ENGL)
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on JUL-13-2024
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