English R1A

Reading and Composition: (new topic:) "Structures of Feeling": The Individual in Modernity

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Fall 2014 Lee, Sookyoung (Soo)
MWF 12-1 222 Wheeler

Book List

Barnes, Djuna: Nightwood; Cole, Teju: Open City; Conrad, Joseph: Under Western Eyes; McCarthy, Tom: Remainder; O'Brien, Flann: At Swim-Two-Birds; Woolf, Virginia: Jacob's Room;

Recommended: Lanham, Richard A.: Analyzing Prose; Williams, Joseph M.: Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace


Let's begin with two loose assumptions, that novels register everyday experience and that novels bear witness to large epistemic shifts. As the possibilities of individual and collective life flounder spectacularly under the pressures of modernity (global capitalism, environmental catastrophe, ceaseless state violence--to name just a few cheery examples), this class indulges in a semester-long thought experiment on how the form and the concept of the novel address these changes. We will begin with two curious texts from recent years, working to extract our own set of terms to describe the modes of subjectivity and the linguistic, temporal, and spatial conditions available to the present. We will then put our idioms to the test, shifting back to a smattering of equally curious texts from the Modernist era, a moment of heightened consciousness about the inexorable dissolution of the self in modernity. We will approach the big questions of being and epiphany by parsing the way these works go about their business of registering and witnessing: how they employ the prose poetics of voice, narrative structure, and discursive style.

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