English R1B

Reading and Composition: Investigating Fiction

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
14 Spring 2017 Magarik, Raphael
MW 5-6:30 134 Dwinelle

Book List

Chandler, Raymond: The Long Goodbye; Collins, Wilke: The Moonstone; Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein: They Say, I Say; Mieville, China: The City & the City; Sophocles: Oedipus Rex; Tey, Josephine: The Daughter of Time; Whitehead, Colson: The Intuitionist


“The distortion of a text is not unlike a murder. The difficulty lies not in the execution of the deed but in the doing away with the traces.” —Sigmund Freud, Moses and Monotheism

Freud suggests that murder mysteries appeal to us in part because readers are always detectives, collecting and interpreting clues to a text’s secrets. Taking Freud’s analogy as our provocation, we will use stories of murder and detection to improve as textual sleuths. Our texts will come from ancient Athens and contemporary America, and they will include not only the novels and play listed above, but also several short stories and at least one film adaptation. We will ask how different murder mysteries imagine the process of detection and discovery. Using the rhetorical textbook They Say, I Say and model critical essays, we will also reflect on how we investigate and research literature. A scaffold of increasingly complex research and writing assignments will support a substantial research paper.

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