English 27

Introduction to the Study of Fiction

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Spring 2015 Breitwieser, Mitchell
TTh 3:30-5 206 Wheeler

Book List

Austen, Jane: Emma; Brontë, Emily: Wuthering Heights; Conrad, Joseph: Heart of Darkness; Fitzgerald, F. Scott: The Great Gatsby; Morrison, Toni: The Bluest Eye; Pynchon, Thomas: The Crying of Lot 49; Welsh, Irvine: Trainspotting; Woolf, Virginia: To the Lighthouse


The title of the course is “Introduction to the Study of Fiction,” but, more specifically, the course will be an introduction to analytic critical writing about fiction. We will work on close reading, on learning how to read with a mind open to and curious about the writer’s choices, about the motives for and consequences of those choices. Our discussions will loosely divide into two areas of emphasis, narrative—what is it about the plot that is designed to draw our interest, and how is it arranged or structured?—and narration—the tone and character of the telling of the story. I will be particularly interested in the question of how narrative and narration are related to one another in each of the works we read. The goal of the discussions will be to help you decide upon and formulate theses for essays, and then to develop plausible and well-evidenced explorations of those theses, so several class sessions will be devoted to essay-writing rather than to discussion of the literary works. Two five-page and one seven-page essays will be required, along with regular attendance and participation in discussion, with occasional brief (less than a page) writing assignments to facilitate discussion.

This will be a reading- and discussion-intensive course designed for prospective majors and transfer students looking to study fiction and learn how to write about it critically.

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