Voice and Form
Reading Prose Fiction 242
9.40-11.50 M-Thurs Summer 2016
Voice and Form: Reading Prose Fiction
This course will be a whirlwind tour through three and a half genres of fiction: the novel, the short story, the short story collection, and the novella (provided there is such a thing). Given the shape of summer term, and accompanying reasons of coherence/sanity, we will focus on American and British writers from early 20th century modernism forward. Our approach will be threefold—as one example we’ll talk about what people talk about when they talk about love, and Raymond Carver, who wrote the story, and contextualize the story as part of a minimalist ethos in American literature: we’ll think in terms of (1) themes, (2) writerly voices, and (3) aesthetic sensibilities. We’ll look at form and tone as well as content, so close reading will matter, and you’ll be expected to develop an ear for the writers’ voices. Authors include recent Nobel Prize Winner Alice Munro, Dorothy Parker, Lydia Davis, Virginia Woolf, Edith Wharton, James Joyce, Katherine Mansfield, Ford Madox Ford, Ernest Hemingway, J. D. Salinger, John Cheever, Raymond Carver, Lorrie Moore, and others. This is a reading intensive course.
In terms of learning outcomes, you will emerge with an improved ability to close read and read and think critically; have an advanced sense of context for fiction; and have read two of the best English-language novels of the 20th century. You will also have an intense engagement with some of the best contemporary writers, and literary modernists, specifically in terms of modernism’s theme of body and mind—shell-shock, the modern woman, and representations of inner experience.
Texts (in order of appearance):
J. D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey ISBN-13: 978-0316769495 (Little Brown and Co)
James Joyce, DublinersBrenda Maddox, ed. ISBN-13: 978-0553213805 Bantam
Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion ISBN-13: 978-0141441849 (Penguin)
Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending ISBN-13: 978-0307947727 (Vintage)
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway ISBN-13: 978-0156628709 (Mariner, HBJ)