English R1A

Reading & Composition: 19th- and 20th-Century Experiment/alisms

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
13 Spring 2012 Rahimtoola, Samia Shabnam
TTh 3:30-5 new room: 101 Wheeler

Book List

Hawthorne, Nathaniel: The Blithedale Romance; Shelley, Mary: Frankenstein; Thoreau, Henry David: Walden

Other Readings and Media

Course Reader including poetry, criticism, and manifestos.


What does it mean to undertake an experiment? Why might one wish to describe a work of art as “experimental”?  Is there any value in a failed experiment?  Beginning with these questions, this course will explore the hope, euphoria, and despair that attend the life of an experiment in the specific context of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.  We will consider a variety of texts that attempt to describe or produce different kinds of experiments: scientific, utopian, and literary.  In doing so, we will consider the possibilities that subsist as dead-ends and dreams in the history of modernity.   Specific works include Henry David Thoreau's Walden, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Blithedale Romance, Gertrude Stein's Tender Buttons, the Dada and Futurist manifestos, and post-WWII works by Fluxus artists.

In this course, you will develop your critical reading and writing skills through frequent, short assignments and longer papers.  Cumulatively, you will produce at least 32 pages of writing, which will include pre-writing, drafts, and revisions.  Significant class time will be devoted to developing analytical, argumentative, and verbal skills.

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