English R1A

Reading and Composition: The Seducer's Plots

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
8 Fall 2004 Nicholas Nace
TTh 8-9:30 204 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

"Behn, A. Love Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister

Donne, J. Complete English Poems

Gordon, K. The Deluxe Transitive Vampire

Kierkegaard, S. The Seducer's Diary

Richardson, S. Pamela

Wilmot, J. The Complete Poems of John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester

Wycherley, W. The Country Wife"


"While it's unlikely that anyone has ever emerged from reading a particularly absorbing poem to find his or her shirt unbuttoned, we still find it helpful to use the metaphor of seduction to talk about a certain power that literature can have over us. Poems, stories and plays are frequently said to ""draw us in"" and, if they're good, to ""touch us,"" bringing us within arm's reach of an imaginary author or narrator. Closing imaginative distance in this way forces something into our consciousness that doesn't naturally occur there (hypnotic rhymes, soothing meter, absorbing plots), and makes us forget something else that does (awareness of our self and surroundings). So while this course will explore seduction as a theme, focusing on works of amorousness and exploitation, it will more powerfully concern the antidote to seduction: paying attention. You will learn in this course how to notice the things literature doesn't want you to notice, to question the things it asks you to take for granted, and to investigate the assumptions it tries to bury. And while we will work at becoming perverse and uncooperative readers of literature in order to see how poems and stories operate on us, the most important objective of this class is to turn this new critical awareness back onto our own work and to begin paying attention to the things in our own writing we'd rather forget. In short, we will learn how not to be seduced by our own words. There will be a fair amount of talk about critical reading, but the focus will be on the mechanics of writing. Along the way, you will produce thirty-two pages of your own polished writing, much of which will be required reading for your classmates. "

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