English R1A

Reading and Composition: Magical Engines

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
5 Spring 2015 Mead, Christopher
TTh 11-12:30 222 Wheeler

Book List

Atwood, Margaret: The Handmaid's Tale; Euripedes: Medea; Scott Card, Orson: Ender's Game; Shakespeare, William: Coriolanus; Wells, H.G.: The Time Machine; Wilde, Oscar: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Other Readings and Media

Course Reader with theoretical selections from Aristotle, Francis Bacon, Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Katherine Hayles; poetry/short stories selected from the book of Genesis, Virgil, Ovid, Chaucer, John Donne, Margaret Cavendish, Rudyard Kipling, D.H. Lawrence, William Carlos Williams, Michael Donaghy, and Richard Brautigan.

Films: Georges Méliès: Le Voyage Dans La Lune; Ridley Scott: Blade Runner





This introduction to college writing and argument explores texts about machines--both real and imagined--from Greece through the present day. While writing and theorizing about tools, inventions, and devices seems to have taken on special urgency since the Industrial Revolution, human imagining about machines is at least as old as writing itself. Our course materials will help us formulate questions about the machine’s relationship to nature, cultural change, the body, and literary form. A site of both utopian dreaming and dystopian nightmare, thinking about machines reflects our greatest hopes and fears about the potential of the imagination.

This is a writing-intensive course, and part of the course requirements include drafting and revising three essays. Our constant goal throughout the semester will be to augment our skills as critical readers and enhance our ability to articulate arguments in clear and sophisticated prose.

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