Is the most important thing about the novel the narrator’s relation to the author, the plot’s beginning and end, or the importance of its moral themes? It is actually the narrator’s relation to the protagonist, then that protagonist’s relationships to the other characters in the system of their complementary and contending points of view, which therefore makes the middle part of the novel the most important part of the “plot.” So, to explore these and other formal issues, we will read a variety of classical modernist novels, most of them short, which play against each other and offer a variety of answers to these questions. The novel is a most capacious genre, including both Pride and Prejudice and Ulysses, and makes up its own rules as it goes along. • Introduction to Terms, Definitions, and Lionel Trilling • Chandler: The Big Sleep (Vintage) • Conrad: The Heart of Darkness (Penguin) • Dostoevsky: Notes from Underground (Modern Library) • Kertesz: Fateless (Northwestern) • Woolf: To the Lighthouse (Harcourt Brace) • Faulkner: As I Lay Dying (Vintage) • Jones: The Known World (Amistad) • O’Brien: The Things They Carried (Houghton Mifflin) • Roth: The Ghost Writer (Vintage) • Pushkin: Eugene Onegin (Penguin
In the past few decades a number of Shakespearean comedies have been made into entrancing films. Like the original plays, these presentations are a treat for popular and esoteric audiences alike. Kate Pogue has chosen six of her favorite comedies to watch in their entirety: Love’s Labour’s Lost, Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado about Nothing, As You Like It, and Twelfth Night, making this course a joyful, mini Shakespeare Festival. The films have been directed by the best of the best—Franco Zefferelli, Trevor Nunn, and Kenneth Branagh. If this summer is not the right one for you to travel to Stratford or London, or if you’ve always wondered why people love Shakespeare and would like to find out, come and be transported and amused as we enjoy the best of the Shakespeare comedies. (*The extra 30 minutes is for viewing the films. A limited enrollment class)
How does the twentieth century treat love and passion on the page? Truth be told, the past century is known for its rebellion against traditional emotional expression, which modernist and postmodernist writers replaced with abstractions, distancing themselves from the more tender connections between people. Despite this aversion to feeling, however, authors were writing romantic texts, although of a different texture than the likes of, say, Jane Austen. What are the defining characteristics of the twentieth-century romance? How do authors express sexual desire, abiding love, romantic jealousy, and romantic sorrow? We’ll begin with short stories by Faulkner and Raymond Carver, then read selections by D. H. Lawrence, Daphne du Maurier, Jean Rhys, and Michael Ondaatje. For the final session, the class will vote on whether to read and discuss Nicolas Sparks’ The Notebook or Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander. Either way, we’ll have a viewing party at the end of the six weeks to watch one of these films/episodes, eat popcorn, and discuss the translation of romantic text to romantic film. Week 1 • “A Rose for Emily,” William Faulkner (1920) • “What We Talk about When We Talk about Love,” Raymond Carver (1981) Week 2 • Lady Chatterley’s Lover and “The Fox,” D. H. Lawrence (1928 and 1922) Week 3 • Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier (1938) Week 4 • Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys (1966) Week 5 • The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje (1992) Week 6: Student Choice • The Notebook, Nicolas Sparks (1996) OR • Outlander, Diana Gabaldon (1991)
How does the twentieth century treat love and passion on the page? What are the defining characteristics of the twentieth-century romance? How do authors express sexual desire, abiding love, romantic jealousy, and romantic sorrow? Even though the past century is known for its rebellion against traditional emotional expression, we will examine the following selections and end with a viewing party (with popcorn) to discuss the translation of romantic text into film: *Week 1: “A Rose for Emily,” William Faulkner and “What We Talk about When We Talk about Love,” Raymond Carver *Week 2: Lady Chatterley’s Lover and “The Fox,” D. H. Lawrence *Week 3: Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier *Week 4: Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys *Week 5: The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje *Week 6: Student Choice: The Notebook, Nicolas Sparks OR Outlander, Diana Gabaldon
Whitman is our greatest poet and Melville’s Moby-Dick, perhaps, our greatest novel. Moby-Dick was published in 1851. Whitman published the first of nine editions of Leaves of Grass is 1855. Both are “epic” works and, in many ways, completely eccentric; and together they establish American literature’s independence of the British traditions that dominated American culture. We will spend four weeks on Moby-Dick, two weeks on Leaves of Grass; and in the first class, we will cover Chapters 1-23 (The Lee Shore) of Moby –Dick. This isn’t a book to read at the beach!