The Poetics of Fiction
This course provides theoretical basics and practical training in the analysis of narrative form. Discussions will be based on five major 19/20th-century novels: Honore de Balzac, Pere Goriot (Signet or any edn); Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary (Oxford Worlds Classics); Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent (Signet or any edn); John Fowles, The French Lieutenant’s Woman (Signet); and David Lodge’s The Art of Fiction (Penguin), a study of how fiction works. Students will work with key critical concepts associated with the poetics of the novel (story and plot, authorship and modes of narration, reliable and unreliable narrators, framing and embedding, point of view, methods of representing consciousness, irony, defamiliarization, metafiction, intertextuality). Please note: English 302B is an introduction to advanced literary studies, and the class is reading-intensive. There will be a substantial course-reserve of critical essays. Several short assignments and a final exam/paper (last day of class).