Fictions Old and New
In this course, we will look at a few lesser-taught but very important authors from the early days of British fiction and at a wide variety of American fiction composed by writers living today. There is some affinity between what was produced at the opposite ends of this span of time and, of course, there are some marked differences. In particular, a notion that Robert Scholes has called “fabulation” will help us to make connections. We will also look at the literary term "romance" see how it fits with what we are reading and consider what might be labeled "free indirect narration." Early writers include Aphra Behn and Margaret Cavendish. Some contemporary authors we will cover are Sherman Alexie, T.C. Boyle, Alice Munro, and Annie Proulx.
A. Two brief critical writings. Due the third and forth weeks. The writings will give students an opportunity to respond to the reading and to test out ideas for or problems with the conference paper. These assignments will be graded, so try to come up with significant insights and take care in the way that you present your material. Limit yourself to no more than one page. Each critical writing will be worth 10% of the final grade for the course.
B. A proposal for the conference paper. Due the sixth week. Limit yourself to two pages. Worth 10% of the grade for the course. You will be allowed to change your conference paper topic if what you choose at this stage proves unworkable later, but you must demonstrate that you are actively pursuing a particular topic in a serious way.
C. A progress report and annotated bibliography on the conference paper research. Due the tenth week. Limit yourself to two pages of progress report and three pages of bibliography. Worth 20% of the grade for the course. The progress report may take the form of an outline or a sample from the conference paper, say, the introduction. Or, you may want to simply describe the work you have performed so far on the paper. (If you have not done much work, this lack will be reflected in your grade.) I will give you a sample of an annotated bibliography on the first day of class.
D. The conference paper. Due the twelfth class period. The conference paper will be worth 40% of the grade for the course.
E. Leading discussion for a particular piece of short fiction. Worth
10% of the grade for the course.
Attendance, Conference Paper Policy, Etc.
Unless you have a solid excuse, you must come to every class. If you miss many classes, you will end up losing control of the conference paper and will fail the course. I absolutely WILL NOT accept a paper that has not gone through the process of a proposal and a progress report/annotated bibliography according to the schedule outlined in this syllabus. Occasionally we will want to discuss what is called "charged" material in order to more fully understand the literature we are reading. I will try to handle such material so as not to cause anyone to become uncomfortable. If there is a problem in this regard, let me know.
Behn, Aprha. Aphra Behn: Oroonoko and other Writings, ed.
Paul Salzman, Oxford World's Classics, 1994.
Cavendish, Margaret. The Blazing World and Other Writings, ed. Kate Lilley, Penguin, 1994.
Moore, Lorrie, ed. The Best American Short Stories, 2004, Houghton Mifflin, 2004.
Schedule (Subject to Change)
Week 1, Aug 29 Introduction to the course. Discussion
of a handout of a passage from Robert Scholes' The Fabulators.
Discussion of a handout of an example of an annotated bibliography.
Discussion of a handout of Cavendish's "The Loving-Cuckold" and "Age's
Folly." Discussion of "The Loving-Cuckold" and "Age's Folly" as
fabulation and fable For next week read: Alexie's, "What You Pawn,
I Will Redeem" (p. 1), and Lewis's, "Limestone Diner" (p. 252) in BASS
(Best American Short Stories). For next week also read: Behn's
"The Black Lady" (p.191) in the Salzman edition. It would not hurt
if you were to read around in all of the fiction in BASS, and, I
think, it would be fun. Volunteer discussion leaders for next meeting?
Week 2 Sept 5. Labor Day. Holiday.
Week 3 Sept 12. Turn in first brief critical writing. Discussion led by one or more students? Discussion of "What You Pawn, I Will Redeem," "Limestone Diner," and "The Black Lady." Workshop ideas for the conference paper. Workshop conference paper projects.
Week 4 Sept 19. Turn in second brief critical writing. Discussion led by one or more students. Discussion of handout of Gerald Graff's, "Literature Against Itself." Discussion of Freudenberger's "The Tutor" (BASS p.192), Jones' "A Rich Man" (BASS p. 232), and Cavendish's "The Contract" (p. 4). Workshop conference paper projects.
Week 5 Sept 26. Discussion led by one or more students. Proulx', "What Kind of Furniture would Jesus Pick?" (BASS p. 355), Updike's, "A Walk with Elizanne" (BASS p. 386), and Behn's "The Unfortunate Bride" (p. 199). Workshop conference paper projects.
Week 6 Oct 3. Proposal for the conference paper due. Discussion led by one or more students. Discussion of handout of David Lodge's, "The Novelist at the Crossroads." Discussion of Boyle's "Tooth and Claw" (BASS p.22), Water's "Mirror Studies" (BASS p.398). Workshop conference paper projects. .
Week 7 Oct 10. Discussion led by one or more students. Discussion of McCorkle's "Intervention" (BASS p.275) and Cavendish's "Assaulted and Pursued Chastity" (p. 47). Workshop conference paper projects
Week 8 Oct 17. Discussion led by one or more students. Discuss: handout of Ihab Hassan's "Toward a Concept of Postmodernism." Discuss McGuane's "Gallatin Canyon" (BASS p. 291) and Bynum's "Accomplice" (BASS p.58). Workshop conference paper projects.
Week 9 Oct 24. Discussion led by one or more students.
Discussion of Brady's "Written in Stone," (BASS p.44) and Behn's
"The History of the Nun" (p. 138). Workshop conference paper projects.
Week 10 Oct 31. Progress report and annotated
bibliography on the conference paper research due. Discussion led by
one or more students. Discussion of handout of Seamus Heaney "Englands
of the Mind." Discussion of Munro's "Runaway" (BASS p.304)
and D'Ambrsio's "Screenwriter" (BASS p.76). Workshop conference
Week 11 Nov 7. Discussion led by one or more students.
Discussoion of Smith's "Docent" (BASS p.376) and Fox's "Grace"
(BASS p.175). Workshop conference paper projects.
Week 12 Nov 14. Conference Paper due. Discussion
led by one or more students. Discussion of Eisenberg's "Some Other,
Better, Otto" (BASS p.143) and Peunman's "All Saints Day" (BASS
p.336). Workshop conference paper projects.
Week 13 Nov 21 Conference.
Week 14 Nov 28 Conference.
Week 15 Dec 5 Conference.
Week 16 Dec 12 Final Exam Week