English R1B

Reading and Composition: Plotting Suspicion

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
6 Spring 2009 Ring, Joseph
Ring, Joseph
MWF 12-1 225 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

William S. Burroughs, Cities of the Red Night; Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of Four; Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams; Sigmund Freud, Dora: An Analysis of a Case of Hysteria; Jamyang Norbu, The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes; William Shakespeare, Hamlet; selected short stories by Jorge Luis Borges and Edgar Allan Poe.


This course will inspect a lineup of “unusual suspects” plucked from what might be called a literature of suspicion. Although a motley generic arrangement encompassing revenge tragedy, psychoanalytic theory, detective fiction, and postmodern apocalypse, the texts that we will read nevertheless all, in different but related ways, assign a prime role to fiction in procedures of suspicion, detection, and evidence evaluation. This course will concentrate on close, careful reading of these works and their interpretive methods, placing them in historical and cultural context.

Above all, this course is designed to teach you how to work with principal modes of academic rhetoric: description, analysis, and argument. You will be required to write, in addition to a diagnostic essay and a number of short writing assignments, at least two formal essays, each of which you will substantially revise, and the last of which will include a research component. As each student will also workshop these essays with a peer-editing group, you must be prepared to write detailed comments on other students’ work.

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