ENGL 554 A: Theories Of Structure, Genre, Form, And Function

What We Talk About When We Talk About Genre

Meeting Time: 
TTh 1:30pm - 3:20pm
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LaPorte photo
Charles LaPorte

Syllabus Description:

English 554 Structure, Genre, Form

Course Title: What We Talk About When We Talk About Genre

Professor Charles LaPorte (laporte@uw.edu)


Course Description:  This course is designed as a basic introduction to genre theory, which we will study in conjunction with several literary examples (a couple of novels, various kinds of poetry, an autobiography, etc).  Asking you to draw upon your own rich backgrounds as scholars (and/or authors), the course will consider the usefulness of thinking about genre as conceptual framework for both readers and authors.  You may expect to read from a few old war horses like Mikhail Bakhtin and Jacques Derrida as well as later theorists; we will touch upon rhetorical genre theory from the vantage of the classroom, for instance.  Our literary examples will range from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries, though you will be open to bringing in other examples. Indeed, in addition to a seminar paper, students will be expected to make one classroom presentation on a literary genre that interests them.  This will partly serve to crowd-source our learning and address genres that will not be otherwise covered in class: encyclopedias, detective fiction, graphic novels, fables, fan fiction, slam poetry, tweets, you-name-it.  


Course Books:

The Norton Anthology of Poetry

John Frow, Genre

Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh

Valeria Luiselli Lost Children Archive: A Novel

M. NourbeSe Philip, Zong!

Last updated: 
February 2, 2021 - 10:06am