ENGL 337 A: The Modern Novel

The Modern Voice

Meeting Time: 
TTh 7:00pm - 8:50pm
Location: 
SAV 132
SLN: 
22959
Instructor:
Heather Arvidson

Syllabus Description:

 The Modern Voice

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In a bird's eye view of the English novel from Fielding [c. 18th C] to Ford [c. 20th C], the one thing that will impress you more than any other is the disappearance of the author.

--J. W. Beach, The Twentieth Century Novel (1932)

This class begins with one of the defining features of modern fiction: what Joseph Warren Beach in 1932 called "the disappearance of the author." We will address a host of questions provoked by Beach's observation: first, how true is it? If the author no longer speaks, whose voices do we hear? Once the author has disappeared, where do we locate narrative authority? Is the author's "silence" the hallmark of the modern voice? And finally, what makes a voice "modern"?

We approach these questions through landmark transatlantic novels that privilege formal and political problems of voice, ranging from Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier, James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse to William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury and Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. These novels span Britain, Ireland, and the U.S. from 1915 to 1937, and they will give us a broad sense of the voices that animate the modern novel. Through analysis of narrative form and theme, we will investigate the social, political, and historical implications of how a novel represents consciousness, objectivity, and temporality.

Grading is based on participation, weekly short assignments, and either formal papers (for "W" students) or take-home exams (for non-"W" students). Class time will be divided between short lectures and large- and small-group discussions.

Full syllabus

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Additional Details:

English 337a The Modern Novel
“The Modern Voice”
Heather Arvidson
Fall 2014 | Savery 132
TTh 7.00–8.50 pm

In a bird's eye view of the English novel from Fielding [c. 18th C] to Ford [c. 20th C], the one thing that will impress you more than any other is the disappearance of the author.
--J. W. Beach, The Twentieth Century Novel (1932)

This class begins with one of the defining features of modern fiction: what Joseph Warren Beach in 1932 called "the disappearance of the author." This class will address a host of questions provoked by Beach's observation: first, how true is it? If the author no longer speaks, whose voices do we hear? Once the author has disappeared, where do we locate narrative authority? Is the author’s "silence" the hallmark of the modern voice? And finally, what makes a voice "modern"?
We approach these questions through landmark transatlantic novels that privilege formal and political problems of voice, ranging from Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier, James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse to William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury and Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. These novels span Britain, Ireland, and the U.S. from 1915 to 1937, and they will give us a broad sense of the voices that animate the modern novel. Through analysis of narrative form and theme, we will investigate the social, political, and historical implications of how a novel represents consciousness, objectivity, and temporality.

Grading is based on participation, weekly short assignments, and formal papers. Class time will be divided between short lectures and large- and small-group discussions.

Catalog Description: 
Explores the novel in English from the first half of the twentieth century. May include such writers as Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, Gertrude Stein, E.M. Forster, Claude McKay, Elizabeth Bowen, Raja Rao, William Faulkner, Jean Rhys, and Edith Wharton. Includes history and changing aesthetics of the novel as form, alongside the sociohistorical context.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Other Requirements Met: 
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
March 15, 2016 - 3:31pm