English R1B

Reading & Composition: Literature in a Time of War

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
19 Spring 2008 Charles Legere
MWF 9-10 225 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Simone Weil, War and the Iliad, trans. Mary McCarthy; Claudia Rankine, Don�t Let Me Be Lonely; Yusef Komunyakaa, Neon Vernacular; Whitman: Poetry and Prose, ed. by Justin Kaplan, and a Reader, with excerpts from the Iliad, Trojan Women, Lysistrata, James Janko, Philip Gourevitch, and Hannah Arendt, and poems by Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop, Randall Jarrell, Juliana Spahr, and Paul Celan


"In your writing for this course, you will try to come up with an answer to one question: what does literature say or tell us about war? Some poets glorify or rationalize war, while others protest. For still others, a work of literature does not say anything: literature, like war, just is. Since, at this moment, we ourselves are citizens and soldiers in a time of war, it seems important to think again�ourselves�about the responsibility of the imagination to the representation of war.

To do so, we will read and look at fictional and non-fictional poems, prose, and film about the Trojan War, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, and the present war in Iraq and Afghanistan. We will think about heroism, healing, trauma, memory, recovery, rhetoric, verisimilitude, and myth.

You will write three two-page papers�two close readings and a critique�as well as a six-page paper, on a primary source and a ten-page research paper that draws upon at least three secondary sources. You will learn the subtleties of grammar, punctuation, and sentence and paragraph structure. To refine your arguments and writing style, you will produce and revise drafts of your papers and conduct intensive in-class peer review. Finally, at the end of the semester, you will present your research paper to your peers at an in-class conference on �Literature in a Time of War.� "

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