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The Great American Novella
ENGL 249
Spring 2020
Section: 01  

Why is it important that Americans write great novels, and what would it mean to think of American novellas as being great, too? Can a novella even be great? Why are novellas more likely to be "startling," as the New Yorker described Philip Roth's "Goodbye, Columbus," or "shimmering," as The Seattle Times called Teju Cole's "Every Day Is for the Thief," or pretty much ignored, as Herman Melville's "Benito Cereno" was for decades after its publication? In this class we will study the internal mechanics of the novella, considering how formal categories like "character" and "plot" operate in a genre that is out of whack with our normal sense of narrative scale. We will also think about how external conditions in literary culture have influenced the production and consumption of novellas in the US, such as the emergence of magazine culture at the end of the 19th century, and the rise of the creative writing program after World War II. This course, in short, examines 10 great American novellas in the hope of gaining a better understanding of American literary history, the novella as a genre, and "greatness" as a label of critical and institutional consecration.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA ENGL
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Student Option
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ENGL)(ENGL-Literature)
Past Enrollment Probability: 50% - 74%

Last Updated on JUN-17-2024
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