English R1A

Reading & Composition: Nostalgia, Homesickness and Exile

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
13 Fall 2012 Lee, Sookyoung (Soo)
MW 4-5:30 179 Dwinelle

Book List

Coetzee, J. M.: Life and Times of Michael K; Conrad, Joseph: The Shadow-Line: A Confession; Ghosh, Amitav: The Shadow Lines; Rushdie, Salman: The Moor's Last Sigh;

Recommended: Williams, Joseph: Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace

Other Readings and Media

A course reader: short stories by Flannery O'Connor; poetry by Mahmoud Darwish and Li-Young Lee; selections from Rainer Maria Rilke.

Films: Atom Egoyan, Calendar; Wim Wenders, Wings of Desire


“History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake,” declares Stephen Dedalus in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, wishing to unburden himself from the baggages of the past that placed him where he is.

Yet most of us can attest to that feeling of missing a moment in time or an old self. Where does the feeling of nostalgia come from, and to what extent is it personal or collective? The more I know, the less certain I become; so how trustworthy is our remembrance of things past? How does homesickness – produced by both geographical and temporal distance – inform the way a subject acts in the present? Does exile, the banishment from a native land, sensitize the imagination and condition one's ability to empathize? To consider how the modes of nostalgia, homesickness and exile are reflected in and amplified by literature, we will look at writers in various contexts of the last century.

As if to show us how time erodes selfhood, the narratives on the syllabus equivocate between tenses and persons. In responding to these texts, however, the opposite will be the case for your own writing. We will work to hone our critical voice and analytic skills through a series of medium-length essays, presentations, and short response papers.

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