English 100

Junior Seminar: Nonsense

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
15 Spring 2008 Hanson, Kristin
Hanson, Kristin
TTh 3:30-5 247 Dwinelle
Other Readings and Media

Carroll, L.: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass; Lear, E.: A Book of Nonsense, Nonsense Songs and Stories, The Owl and the Pussycat, The Quangle Wangle's Hat; Dr. Seuss: And to Think that I Saw it on Mulberry Street!, Horton Hears A Who, Horton Hatches an Egg, If I Ran the Zoo, The Lorax, Yertle the Turtle, Oh! The Places You'll Go, Oh, Say Can You Say?Oh, The Thinks You Can Think! and You're Only Old Once


This course will justify the indulgence of re-reading of favorite children's books by exploring two dimensions of nonsense literature in general. One is its extreme foregrounding of linguistic structure, including verse structure, a characteristic shared with language games and of particular interest to children learning language. Another is the correlative backgrounding of overt claims about the actual world, allowing covert critiques of educational practices, social inequality, imperialism, capitalism, the American health care system and even philology.

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