English R1A

Reading & Composition: When Reading Goes Wrong

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
20 Fall 2012 Bauer, Mark
TTh 5-6:30 109 Wheeler

Book List

Ishiguro, Kazuo: Remains of the Day; McEwan, Ian: Atonement; Nabokov, Vladimir: Pale Fire; Pynchon, Thomas: The Crying of Lot 49

Other Readings and Media

A course reader of essays and poems


Every day, we’re called upon to make hundreds of interpretive judgments based on things we read, see, or hear.  But what happens when we misjudge one of these texts, or when we’re unable to judge it at all?  In addition to being a common element in post-World War II British and American literature, these depictions of failed readings raise important questions about our expectations for genres, not just as readers, but as writers.  What do we assume about a poem, for example, or an essay, when sitting down to read or write one?  How do the writers of those pieces manipulate generic assumptions for maximum effect?  This course’s focus both on depictions of reading practices and on the practices themselves across a variety of genres will allow us to think more deeply about the constructedness of text, an exploration that will in turn lead to careful considerations of writing and the elements that help to constitute skillful uses of language.  In addition to these investigations, the course will also cultivate students’ argumentative and analytical abilities through the drafting, editing, and revision of several short papers over the course of the semester.

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