English R1B

Reading and Composition: City Images

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
9 Spring 2005 Katherine Anderson
TTh 8:00-9:30 109 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

"A. Lunsford, The Everyday Writer

Jean Rhys, After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie

Nathanael West, Day of the Locust

A course reader will include Walt Whitman, Charles Baudelaire, Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen Crane, H.G. Wells, George Orwell, Virginia Woolf, Janet Flanner, Langston Hughes and Dashiell Hammett. "


A number of prominent 19th and 20th century writers and artists felt drawn to represent urban experience in their imaginative works, as well as to analyze critically the place of cities in their lives and those of their contemporaries. What is so compelling about cities? Why the double urge to address the city creatively as well as critically? How do the city images we will encounter this semester (mainly literary, with supplemental examples from visual arts and film) portray the awe, fear, desire or pain they inspire? What formal and stylistic devices do these writers and artists use to build city images? And what tools will we, as critical readers and writers, use to build our own arguments concerning this urban obsession? This course takes something of an architectural approach to the processes of reading and writing. They say Rome wasn't built in a day: neither are close reading techniques and argumentative or expository writing skills. We will break down these seemingly mystical talents into a number of specific elements that you can actually practice! The main writing goal for this course is two substantial papers: achieving this will involve lots of drafting. We will devote in-class time to exercises on structuring arguments, selecting evidence and effectively incorporating it to support your claims, as well as to draft workshops and peer-review sessions aimed at helping you confidently revise.

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