English 143N

Prose Nonfiction: Traveling, Thinking, Writing


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2013 Giscombe, Cecil S.
Thurs. 3:30-6:30 65 Evans

Book List

Basho: Backroads to Far Towns; Conrad, Joseph: Heart of Darkness; Gladman, Renee: Event Factory; Harris, Eddy: Mississippi Solo; Niemann, Linda Grant: Boomer Railroad Memoirs

Other Readings and Media

We'll also read excerpts from Travel Writing: 1700-1830 (Ian Duncan and Elizabeth Bohls); Stranger in the Village: Two Centuries of Afrrican-American Travel Writing (Farah Griffin and Cheryl Fish); and items from the popular press.

Description

Much of American literature has had to do with a sense of motion. Note the journeys, e.g., in the best known texts of Melville and Twain. But note also that Harlemite Langston Hughes’ autobiography, The Big Sea, begins on a boat and details his adventures in Europe and Africa; Canadian writer Gladys Hindmarch takes on Melville with her Watery Part of the World, and Zora Neale Hurston travels to Haiti in Tell My Horse and through the American south in Mules and Men. 

The point of this course is multiple and full of inquiry.

The 
familiar question “Is this trip necessary?” is joined to “What makes this trip important enough to 
celebrate?” 

Another field is the role of Americans and/ or Westerners as travelers in the world. (I’d note that the world is both within and beyond our national boundaries.) What things are we heir to? What are our responsibilities and blindnesses? What’s the relation between the imperial West and our current situation? The point in this—and any writing—is to write consciously and to be mindful of the political import of our writing. 

A third field is the defining of the relation between travel and place (and imagination).

Workshop.  Discussions.  Reading.  Writing assignments.  Field trips.  The writing vehicle will be, for the greatest part, the personal essay (with some forays outward into hybrid prose forms).

To be considered for admission to this class, please submit 5-10 photocopied pages of your creative nonfiction (no poetry or academic writing), along with an application form, to Professor Giscombe's mailbox in 322 Wheeler, BY 4:00 P.M., TUESDAY, APRIL 23, AT THE LATEST.

Be sure to read the paragraph concerning creative writing courses on page 1 of the instructions area of this Announcement of Classes for further information regarding enrollment is such courses! 

 

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