Announcement of Classes: Summer 2022

Reading and Composition: Sally Rooney: Popularity and the Popular

English R1A

Section: 1
Session: D
Instructor: D'Silva, Eliot
Time: TWTh 9-11:30
Location: 211 Dwinelle


What makes a novel popular? What makes a person popular? When we read stories, why do we want to know the characters, go to the places they’re going and hear more of what they have to say? This class critically interrogates the idea of popularity by looking at the works of a single famous author. We’ll read each of Sally Rooney’s three novels and watch the TV adaptations of her books. Our readings and screenings will generate a set of questions about the popular as a social category and as a literary mode.

Reading and Composition: Thinking through Memory in Poetry and Fiction

English R1B

Section: 1
Session: A
Instructor: Swensen, Dana
Time: TWTh 12-2:30
Location: 122 Wheeler


How and why do we remember? What does ‘memory’ mean to both an individual and a culture? How do fictional narrators construct their memorial landscapes? In this class we will explore the topic of memory as it appears in a wide variety of genres and styles throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. We will consider memory as an expansive and rich literary territory. In doing so we will move from the science fiction of Ursula LeGuin and Ted Chiang to the photographic diaries of Bernadette Mayer; from the unreliable memories of Kazuo Ishiguro’s narrators, to visual memories in the poetry of Anne Carson’s Nox.

This course will involve the writing of essays along with regular peer review exercises. In addition to this, two creative-writing assignments will be pursued throughout the weeks of the session which will bind the process of reading about memory to that of writing about memory. Throughout, the emphasis will be on honing our analytic skills in writing through processes of revision. As a fulfillment of the R1B component, we will focus on writing progressively longer essays and incorporating digital and bibliographic research techniques into our work.


Required Book List for Purchase:

Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane 

Kazuo Ishiguro, When We Were Orphans 

Karen Tei Yamashita, Letters to Memory 

Anne Carson, Nox 

Reading and Composition: Poetry and the Art of Cultivation

English R1B

Section: 3
Session: C
Instructor: Bircea, Jason
Time: TWTh 10-12
Location: 122 Wheeler


What should we make of a poem that proposes to instruct its readers on the proper methods for manufacturing cider? Or on how to care for one’s sheep or cultivate sugarcane on a colonial plantation? Are such poems simply agricultural almanacs in verse? Or might poems about laboring, intermixing, and experimentation—what we might call the art of cultivation—be much more ambitious as well as more contentious than they initially appear? Beginning with Virgil’s Georgics, a classical poem that announces itself as a song specifically about agriculture and rural occupations, this course will explore how later writers adapted the georgic mode to address particularly modern concerns, including agrarian reform, colonization, industrialization and global trade.

In addition to instruction on “the care of sheep, [and] the labors of the loom”, this R1B course will provide you with the opportunity to cultivate your own reading and writing skills through class discussion, writing exercises, workshops and writing seminars. You’ll be asked not only to write about the poems we read and discuss in class, but more importantly, to approach your own writing as something worth tending to.