English R1A

Reading and Composition: Conversation

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
7 Spring 2016 Neal, Allison
TTh 12:30-2 222 Wheeler

Book List

Greene, Graham: The End of the Affair; James, Henry: The Turn of the Screw; Lerner, Ben: 10:04; West, Nathanael: Miss Lonelyhearts

Other Readings and Media

We will read essays by William Wordsworth, J.S. Mill, I.A. Richards, Walter Benjamin, Susan Stewart, Lisa Robertson and William Waters, among others. We will also engage with a vast swath of poetry, including work by Langston Hughes, Gertrude Stein, W.H. Auden, Frank O’Hara, Adrienne Rich, and Claudia Rankine. These materials will be available on bCourses. 


How can we best listen to literature? How is literature like or unlike a conversation? If a text is speaking to us, how might we respond? Do we believe what it tells us, and in what way? This course will examine a variety of twentieth-century British and American literature in order to probe the ways that we might listen to a text in an age of mass culture. It will examine how various mediums—the letter, the radio, the telephone, the internet—affect how texts envision their audience, questioning the extent to which we might connect literature, speech, and belief.

This class is organized around texts that thematize the oral aspect of literature, and accordingly, its primary goal is to generate a dialogue between you and the texts that we read. Just as literature produces different modes of listening, your writing will be characterized by different modes of conversing with and engaging those texts. This class will be structured as a workshop and will include peer revision, individual meetings, and in-class discussions of various techniques of essay writing. Students will be responsible for writing a series of short essays and revisions.

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