English R1B

Reading & Composition: War and Literary Form

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
7 Spring 2008 Marguerite Nguyen
MWF 1-2 222 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Walter Benjamin, �Theses on the Philosophy of History�; John Curran, The Painted Veil ; Michael Herr, selections from Dispatches ; Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner ; Le Minh Khue, �Tony D.�; W. Somerset Maugham, The Painted Veil ; Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons, Watchmen ; Barbara Sonneborn, Regret to Inform ; Dalton Trumbo, Johnny Got His Gun ; Carl von Clausewitz, selections from On War


"This course will explore the connections between war and literary form, with a general focus on 20 th century literature written in English. We will consider how writers represent war in explicit and implicit ways, how various literary genres set up different expectations for the representation of war, how social and historical conflicts during wartime subvert conventions of literary genre, and how issues of race, gender, and class underpin these formal subversions. In our investigation of texts ranging from Carl von Clausewitz�s influential work on warfare and strategy (On War, 1873) to representations of 21 st century wars, we will consider how war and literary genre interweave in the texts under study and how genres both assimilate and become assimilated by the imperatives of wartime narration.

Our critical approach to the texts will interlace with our own critical approaches to writing. We will compose essays gradually, beginning with questions that emerge from our initial responses to the texts and working our way toward effective writing and argumentation. Students will extend their English 1A skills by focusing on how more complex ideas and research results can be refined and integrated into progressively longer essays. A series of in-class workshops will be held to assist students with discussing, drafting, and revising critical essays. "

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