English 190

Research Seminar: My Lost City: (Post)-Modernist and Post-9/11 Fiction


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
8 Spring 2011 Snyder, Katherine
Snyder, Katherine
TTh 11-12:30 109 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Woolf, V.: Mrs. Dalloway; McEwan, I.: Saturday; Fitzgerald, F. S.: The Great Gatsby; O'Neill, J.: Netherland; Pynchon, T.: The Crying of Lot 49; Gibson, W.: Pattern Recognition

Description

In 1948, referring to the nuclear threat from the Soviet Union, E. B. White wrote that "the city, for the first time in its long history, is destructible. A single flight of planes no bigger than a wedge of geese can quickly end this island fantasy, burn the towers, crumble the bridges, turn the underground passages into lethal chambers, cremate the millions. The intimation of mortality is part of New York now; in the sounds of jets overhead, in the black headlines of the latest editions."

In this course, we will read closely and in counterpoint three pairs of novels--Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway and Ian McEwan's Saturday; F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby and Joseph O'Neill's Netherland; Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 and William Gibson's Pattern Recognition--all of which portray the great Western city as a place in which death on a mass scale can, "for the first time," unexpectedly fall from the sky. The first novel in each pairing is a post-war novel (World War I for Woolf and Fitzgerald; the Vietnam War for Pynchon); the second novel in each pairing can be productively read as a post-9/11 novel and as a rewriting of its paired predecessor. We will consider the ways that these modernist, postmodernist, and post-9/11 novels variously register urban modernity as both a network of global relations and a web of consciousness, each shaped by memory, terror, and desire. In addition to the six novels, students will read widely in theory and literary criticism, present oral reports, and write several short essays and one longer research paper.

English 190 replaced English 100 and 150 as of Fall '09. English majors may fulfill the seminar requirement for the major by taking one section of English 190 (or by having taken either English 100 or English 150 before Fall '09). Please read the paragraph on page 2 of this Accouncement of Classes for more details about enrolling in, or wait-listing for, this course.

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.

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