ENGL 384 B: The Craft of Prose

Meeting Time: 
MW 3:30pm - 4:50pm
RAI 109
Photo of David Shields
David Shields

Syllabus Description:

ENGL 384B - Autumn 2019

Class Schedule:  MW     3:30 - 4:50      RAI 109

Instructor:   David Shields (Links to an external site.) 

Office Hours:  M/W: 2:50-3:30/M/W, walk and talk.

Office phone:   206.543.2247    PDL  A-414


The novel is dead; long live the anti-novel, built from scraps.

I’m not interested in collage as the refuge of the compositionally disabled. I’m interested in collage as an evolution beyond narrative.

A great painting comes together, just barely (Picasso).

It may be that nowadays in order to move us, abstract pictures need if not humor then at least some admission of their own absurdity-expressed in genuine awkwardness or in an authentic disorder (Adam Gopnik).

These fragments I have shored against my ruins (T.S. Eliot).

Collage is the primary art form of the twenty-first century (Donald Barthelme).

A course in literary collage/bricolage/assemblage/montage. We’ll read all or parts of some of the works below (key books are bolded); throughout the module, students will create their own 10-to-15-page collage, which they will turn in by the end of the quarter and which we will discuss in class.

Jo Ann Beard, “The Fourth State of Matter”

Eula Biss, The Ballonists

Anne Carson, “Just for the Thrill”

Terry Castle, “My Heroin Xmas”

E.M. Cioran, The Temptation to Exist

Alphonse Daudet, In the Land of Pain

Annie Ernaux, Things Seen

Amy Fusselman, The Pharmacist’s Mate

Mary Gaitskill, “Lost Cat”

Kenneth Goldsmith, Seven American Deaths and Disasters

Mira Gonzalez/Tao Lin, Selected Tweets

Sven Lindqvist, A History of Bombing

Brad Listi, Board

Sarah Manguso, Ongoingness

David Markson, This Is Not a Novel

Leonard Michaels, “Journal”

Maggie Nelson, Bluets

Don Patterson, Best Thought, Worst Thought

James Richardson, Vectors

George WS Trow, Within the Context of No Context

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five (introduction)

Joe Wenderoth, Letters to Wendy’s

Kate Zambreno, Toilet Bowl

Catalog Description: 
Intensive study of various aspects of the craft of fiction or creative nonfiction. Readings in contemporary prose and writing using emulation and imitation. Prerequisite: ENGL 283; ENGL 284.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
August 2, 2019 - 11:00pm