English R1A

Reading and Composition: "A Reader Is a Beginner"

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Spring 2015 Vandeloo, David Conigliaro
MWF 2-3 222 Wheeler

Book List

Beckett, Samuel: Endgame, Murphy; Conrad, C. A.: A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon; Coolidge, Clark: The Crystal Text; Coolidge, Clark and Bernadette Mayer: The Cave; Robertson, Lisa: Seven walks from the office for soft architecture, The Weather


Each of these books explores some everyday occurrence we are familiar with, although perhaps conditioned to pass over. As we read them throughout the semester, they will ask us to rethink how we imagine spaces beyond our current conditions, and whether such imaginings are always entangled in the world in ways that limit our imaginations and/or open them to new possibilities. To this end, we will look at how these texts attempt to understand, describe, perform or frustrate the conditions we currently occupy. How do they resist stability, coherence and shelter, or demand a reconceptualization of our living conditions? Throughout, we will follow Lisa Robertson's suggestion: "A reader is a beginner." Imagining such spaces beyond our conditions, then, will ask us to become beginners--to rethink what such a reading experience exposes, and sometimes even eludes.

These texts, along with the collaborative endeavors of your fellow students, will provide you with approaches to developing your critical reading and writing skills. You will learn how to write a substantial and compelling argument and how subtlety, complexity and clarity illuminate one another. You will develop these skills step-by-step, both in our conversations and through a series of short writing and rewriting assignments. In addition to the texts listed above, you will also be expected to read and comment on the writings of your fellow students through a series of in-class peer reviews. 

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