ENGL 213 A: Modern And Postmodern Literature

Imitations, Forgeries, Fragments, and Copies

Meeting Time: 
TTh 2:30pm - 4:20pm
Location: 
ART 317
SLN: 
14062
Instructor:
Jessica Burstein
Jessica Burstein

Syllabus Description:

What did modernism do to us? Has it stopped doing it? What is the “post-” in “postmodernism” doing there? This course introduces the student to both modern and postmodern prose, mostly American and British, but with a few moments hopefully not lost in translation. Moving back and forth between modern and postmodernist fiction, this class will pair a few indubitably modernist literary texts with their later-born literary twins—so for instance we'll begin with Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) and read it against the English writer Will Self's Dorian: An Imitation (2002); and pair Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway with Cunningham’s The Hours, the title of refers to (one of) Woolf’s “original” titles for what turned into Mrs. Dalloway. The class will pay attention to imitations, forgeries, fragments, and copies (What is the status of the original? Is there an original?); representations of inner experience; and attune the student to matters of literary form. Reading will range from Ford Madox Ford to Lydia Davis, with Borges somewhere in between. Other authors are likely to include Angela Carter, Thomas Pynchon, and Jenny Offill’s recent Dpt. Of Speculation.

            This course doesn't presume prior knowledge about literary history, but it does require that the reader be alert, assiduous—it’s a reading-heavy class—and articulate. There will be papers and a final exam.

Texts:

            You have a packet with the required additional readings (indicated with an asterisk on schedule below) available at The Ram Copy Center on University Way.

NOVELS: UW Bookstore

Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) Norton Critical Edition, ed. Michael Patrick Gillespie ISBN: 0393927547

Will Self, Dorian: An Imitation (Grove Press, ISBN-10: 0802140475 ISBN-13: 978-0802140470)

Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway, ed. Mark Hussey (Mariner Books, ISBN-10: 0156030357 ISBN-13: 978-0156030359)

Michael Cunningham, The Hours (Picador, ISBN-13: 978-0312243029)

Ford Madox Ford,  The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion (1915), 2nd edition Norton Critical Edition, ISBN 039392792X

Jenny Offill, Dpt of Speculation (Vintage Contemporaries, ISBN-13: 978-0345806871)

Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49 ( Harper Perennial, ISBN-10: 006091307X ISBN-13: 978-0060913076

Lydia Davis, Can’t and Won’t Picador, ISBN-13: 978-1250062437

Schedule

 

1st Week

Thurs: 1 Oct Introduction

Imitations

2nd Week: 6 and 8 October Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Tuesday, Response paper #1 due

 

3rd Week: 13 and 15 Oct     Will Self, Dorian: An Imitation

4th Week: 20 and 22 Oct         Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

 

5th Week: 27 and 29 Oct        Cunningham, The Hours       

Thursday: Paper #1 due: 5 pages, due at beginning of class. If you come in late with the paper, it’s late. Cunningham, con’t; plus Woolf’s 1923 essay “Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown” available on Canvas course website under “files.”

 

Imitation Imitations

6th Week: 3 and 5 Nov

Tues: Angela Carter, selections from The Bloody Chamber*; see fairytale supplements and Bettelheim’s Uses of Enchantment in “Files.”

Thurs: Borges, “Pierre Menard”*

 

Endings, Beginnings (1)

7th Week 10 and 12 Nov                     Ford, The Good Soldier      

Tues: Response Paper #2 due

 

The Big Picture: Plots/Plotting

 

8th Week 17 and 19 Nov               Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49

 

9th Week: 24 and 26 Nov                Offill, Dpt. of Speculation

Tues: Response Paper #3 due

Thurs: Thanksgiving; No class  

 

The Little Picture: Fragments (1)

10th Week 1 and 3 Dec                   Davis, Can’t and Won’t

 

11th Week 8 and 10 December Wharton, “Roman Fever”* in tandem with Barnes, “The Things You Know”*; plus Nabokov, “Symbols and Signs”* and his “The Vane Sisters”* in tandem with Moore, “Referential”* [all in packet]

Thurs: Paper #2 Due: 5-7 pages

 

Exam: scheduled by UW for Dec 15, Tuesday of finals week, 4.30-6.20, according to academic calendar—please doublecheck.

 

Course Requirements

  1. You are expected to participate in class discussions. You must be present in the classroom to do so. Depending on my sense of class engagement, in-class quizzes may be given. Quizzes may not be taken belatedly without medical documentation regarding an absence. If you miss class, do not email me to explain why; contact a class member to catch up.

 

  1. Complete reading the entire novel by the day we begin its discussion.

 

  1. Response Papers. The intellectual purpose of the response papers is twofold: to give you a start in thinking critically and in a focused manner about the material; and to give me a chance to register your impressions and adjust our discussions accordingly. Being a good reader means being an active reader. On the days indicated you will turn in a single-spaced, substantive one page response paper formulated around a specific question having to do with the text under discussion that day. Your response paper will receive either a check minus, check, or a check plus. Check minuses mean you need to try harder next time (see the comments on where to begin); checks mean you are doing fine; check pluses mean you have moved beyond fine. At the end of the quarter, I will assess your performance on the responses papers over the arc of the course as a whole.
  • You may formulate your response papers as questions, ones which you begin to consider how to answer, or explain why the question emerges as an important one. In addition to being focused (Avoid questions like “What is the author's intention in using X?"; "What is the deeper meaning of Y?": they’re too big), the question you engage should not be answered readily by a simple yes or no; and indeed you are relieved of the burden of answering the question definitively (the best questions lead to other questions)—but you should begin to answer the question.
  • Do not use first person; avoid reference to “the reader.” This will force you to focus on the text. (“I love how X happens” will become “X is an important issue because [some reason more specific than your love for it: the way it mattered to the text, the way it was reversed later, etc.].”)
  • Use quotations from the text, cited parenthetically with page number, like “this” (42), to reference or explain your question, and your answer or tentative answers to it; or to explain why the question is an important one. The point is to keep you "close" to the text; don't speculate or engage in generalizations. Occasionally, in order to open discussion, you may be asked to present (verbally) your response paper to the class.
  • Regard it as a mini-paper, but one for which you do not need a thesis.
  • Proofread. Style matters. See “Marginal Comments” on course website under “files” for a list of common errors in student writing—and avoid them.
  • I may announce a given topic or specific directions for the next response paper. If you turn in a response paper that does not respond to that announcement, it will count as a zero.
  • Response papers may not be turned in handwritten, late, early, or by Email.

 

  1. Papers: Paper #1: on a single text; paper #2: on 2 texts. Specifics TBA. Do not repeat errors from prior written work; they will count increasingly against the paper’s grade as the course progresses. See “Marginal Comments” on Canvas.

 

  1. Grading: Exam 25%; Participation/Response papers: 30%; Paper #1: 20%; Paper #2: 25%

 

If you require accommodation owing to a disability immediately contact the Disabilities Resources for Students Office (DRS) in Schmitz Hall 448 (206-548-8924; uwdss@u.washington.edu) or the Disabilities Services Office (DSO) at dso@u.washington.edu. It is your responsibility to notify me in writing and in advance of any accommodations to be arranged by either the DSO or DRS office and—should forms be involved—to deliver those to me in person during office hours, with time enough to allow for us to arrive at a mutual understanding of the means by which those accommodations are best met.

 

Do not plagiarize. Plagiarism includes lifting material from the web, collusion, and the use of sources without citation. If you have any questions regarding what constitutes plagiarism, consult me. All sources must be documented, and papers are to be the result of your own labor.

This syllabus is subject to change. You are responsible for keeping up with any modifications to schedule or assignments.

 

 

Additional Details:

English 213, Fall 2015, Modern and Postmodern Literature

What did modernism do to us? Has it stopped doing it? What is the “post-” in “postmodernism” doing there? This course introduces the student to both modern and postmodern prose, mostly American and British, but with a few moments hopefully not lost in translation. Moving back and forth between modern and postmodernist fiction, this class will pair a few indubitably modernist literary texts with their later-born literary twins—so for instance we'll begin with Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) and read it against the English writer Will Self's Dorian: An Imitation (2002); and pair Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway with Cunningham’s The Hours, the title of refers to (one of) Woolf’s “original” titles for what turned into Mrs. Dalloway. The class will pay attention to imitations, forgeries, fragments, and copies (What is the status of the original? Is there an original?); representations of inner experience; and attune the student to matters of literary form. Reading will range from Ford Madox Ford to Italo Calvino, with Lydia Davis and Borges somewhere in between. Other authors are likely to include Angela Carter, Thomas Pynchon, and Jenny Offill's recent Dpt. of Speculation.

This course doesn't presume prior knowledge about literary history, but it does require that the reader be alert, assiduous—it’s a reading-heavy class—and articulate. There will be papers and an exam.

Catalog Description: 
Introduces twentieth-century literature and contemporary literature, focusing on representative works that illustrate literary and intellectual developments since 1900.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
March 21, 2016 - 9:08am