English R1B

Reading & Composition: Writing and Controversy

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
10 Fall 2012 Rodal, Jocelyn
TTh 3:30-5 225 Wheeler

Book List

Conrad, Joseph: Heart of Darkness; Ginsberg, Allen: Howl and Other Poems; Hacker, Diana: Rules for Writers; Hemingway, Ernest: The Sun Also Rises; Nabokov, Vladimir: Lolita; Woolf, Virginia: Mrs. Dalloway


How do we approach writing that seeks to alienate us?  How can we understand books whose characters refuse to understand each other?  How should we react when confronted with art so offensive that understanding seems unethical? 

This course examines controversy in and around literary texts to more broadly understand how argument and disagreement operate in writing.  We will read texts about controversy (conflict between characters) as well as texts that generate controversy (conflict between readers).  Along the way, some of the most loaded issues of contemporary society will arise, including racism, war, and sexual violence.  Confronted with views alien to their own, students will consider when mutual understanding is possible as well as when conflict may be preferable to compromise.

A careful contemplation of argument and disagreement will fuel your ability to craft your own written arguments, and the primary aim of this course is to teach writing and composition.  Through close reading, we will marshal evidence to support and communicate our respective viewpoints.  You will use original research to develop progressively longer papers as the semester progresses, ultimately completing 32 pages of writing in drafts as well as revisions.


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