Fiction and the Real|
Spring 2007 not offered
This course tackles one of the longest-standing themes in literary study: the question of literature's relation to real life. Much of the seminar will be devoted to close reading of novels from the main era of "realism" in literature, the second half of the 19th century, but we will also consider the status of realism in contemporary fiction. And throughout the course, we will explore realism as both a technique and a philosophy: as a series of literary practices that create the illusion of verisimilitude, and as a kind of writing that claims an intimate knowledge of lived experience.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
The first part of the course will center on two nineteenth-century novels: Flaubert's MADAME BOVARY and George Eliot's MIDDLEMARCH. We might also consider the fiction of Zola and Gissing. In the second half of the course we will turn, first, to critics who argued both for and against the idea of realism in literature (Auerbach, Nabokov); and, then, to contemporary American short fiction (Bellow, Cheever, Carver).
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Students will be asked to write three short papers, spaced out evenly through the term. Each student will also give a brief in-class presentation, based on a particular week's reading. Participation in discussion is a major part of the course. There are no exams in this seminar.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
There will be many opportunities for students to develop their writing - both in conversation with the instructor and through exchanges with other students in the course. If there is enough interest, we will also schedule film screenings.
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