English R1B

Reading and Composition: This is Not Real.

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
10 Spring 2013 Creasy, CFS
MWF 2-3 222 Wheeler

Book List

Flaubert, Gustave: Madame Bovary; James, Henry: The Turn of the Screw & In the Cage; Johnson, B.S.: Christie Malry's Own Double-Entry;

Recommended: Churchill, Caryl: A Number; Duras, Marguerite: The Ravishing of Lol Stein

Other Readings and Media

A film screening to be determined.
A course reader that may include excerpts from Cervantes’s Don Quixote, short texts by Edgar Allan Poe, Franz Kafka, and Samuel Beckett, and theoretical excerpts from G.W.F. Hegel, Karl Marx, Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Walter Benjamin, and Georges Duthuit and Samuel Beckett.


This is a course about a strange, perhaps essentially aesthetic form of experience. From daydreamers and romantics to addicts and the insane, these works confront us with figures whose experiences put in question any stable notion of reality. What do such experiences mean for our conception of literature, and our conception of something like a ‘real world’? And what if, instead of being exceptions, these experiences are instead the rule, or perhaps make it impossible to maintain the terms ‘exception’ and ‘rule’? In focusing on works drawn from the second half of the 19th century and from throughout the 20th, we will address with the ways in which these texts thematize and formalize problems of the real and the unreal—how they are about this relation, and how they somehow create the same problem anew for us in our experience of them.
Building on what you have already learned in the first of the Reading and Composition courses, this second course will use the questions that this material poses of us, as well as those we pose of it, to develop your critical reflection as well as your writing and research skills that will culminate in a larger research paper at the end of the semester. Our attention will be devoted in large part to approaching a research paper as a series of cumulative but individually small and manageable pieces. Supplementing the successively longer and successively more revised essays, these intermediate steps will include things like peer editing, an annotated bibliography, and a draft outline.

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