English 190

Research Seminar: Place-Love: Fiction and the Melancholy of Form

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
7 Spring 2017 Xin, Wendy Veronica
MWF 3-4 41 Evans Research Seminars

Other Readings and Media

See below.


Philosophy as a form has been governed by a sense of “homesickness.” Literary discourse has similarly grappled with a longing for remembered places. Thornfield Hall, Satis House, Brideshead Castle, the Isle of Skye, Manderley—from pristine estates and tattered ruins to English moors and Scottish islands, spaces memorialized in novels and films summon a deep-seated nostalgia for bygone eras, familiar characters, a certain way of life, scenes of reading recalled. This course will examine the spaces in and of fiction by interrogating exactly how our affective immersion within a narrative feels like a longing for the solidity of a physical or geographical site. When does a fictional structure take on the contours of “the real”? What do we mean when we talk about “space” in books that appear materially as nothing more than flat, solid, bounded things? How is the diegetic content of a novel or film enhanced by its formal and aesthetic representations of an entire invented cosmos with its own rules, characters, topography, texture? Why are narrative resolutions often premised on a return to a specific place, and what is it about this kind of “place-love”—always laced with a sense of repetitive yearning—that begins to resemble a kind of melancholy? While we will spend a good deal of class time puzzling over the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of the selected texts, we will also read broadly across theories of narrative form, contemporary critical work on affect, nostalgia, and longing, and more recent investigations into the relationship between urban design, lived space, and human behavior.

Primary texts will include: Jane Eyre (1847) – Charlotte Brontë; Great Expectations (1861) – Charles Dickens; To the Lighthouse (1927) – Virginia Woolf; Brideshead Revisited (1945) Evelyn Waugh, as well as several films to be selected from the following list: Rebecca (1940) – dir. Alfred Hitchcock; Last Year at Marienbad (1961) – dir. Alain Resnais; Playtime (1967) dir. Jacques Tati; Summer Hours (L’Heure d’été) (2008) – dir. Olivier Assayas. Secondary readings will include: The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard; The Arcades Project, Walter Benjamin; “Prefaces to the New York Edition,” Henry James; Place for Us, D. A. Miller; On Longing, Susan Stewart; “The Decoration of Houses,” Edith Wharton

Please read the paragraph about English 190 on page 2 of the instructions area of this Announcement of Classes for more details about enroling in or wait-listing for this course.

Other Recent Sections of This Course

Spring, 2019
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
190/1 Research Seminar: Flann O'Brien and Irish Literature Flynn, Catherine
190/2 Research Seminar: Transsexual Literatures and Cultures Lavery, Grace
190/3 Research Seminar: James / Baldwin Best, Stephen M.
190/5 Research Seminar: California Books and Movies Since World War I Starr, George A.
190/6 Research Seminar: Carnal Knowledge in Medieval and Early Modern Literature Miller, Jasmin
190/7 Research Seminar Stancek, Claire Marie
190/8 Research Seminar: Edgar Allan Poe Breitwieser, Mitchell
190/9 Research Seminar: Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln Otter, Samuel
190/10 Research Seminar: Emily Dickinson Shoptaw, John
190/11 Research Seminar: Willa Cather Breitwieser, Mitchell
190/13 Research Seminar: Sixties Cinema Knapp, Jeffrey
190/14 Research Seminar Miller, D.A.
Fall, 2018
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
190/1 Research Seminar: Melville in the 50s Goldsmith, Steven
190/2 Research Seminar: Laughter and Vision: Explorations in the Novel of Ideas Danner, Mark
190/3 Research Seminar: Representations of Coercion and Resistance in African American Slave, Jim Crow, and Neo-slave Narratives JanMohamed, Abdul R.
190/4 Research Seminar: William Blake Goldstein, Amanda Jo
190/7 Research Seminar: The Urban Postcolonial Ellis, Nadia
190/8 Research Seminar: Repression and Resistance Gonzalez, Marcial
190/9 Research Seminar: Mark Twain Griffin, Ben
190/10 Research Seminar No instructor assigned yet.
190/11 Research Seminar No instructor assigned yet.
190/12 Research Seminar: California Books and Movies Since World War I Starr, George A.
190/13 Research Seminar: The Jamesian Novel Hale, Dorothy J.
190/14 Research Seminar Miller, Jennifer
Spring, 2018
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
190/1 Research Seminar: Trials of Literature: Romanticism, Justice, and the Law Langan, Celeste
190/2 Research Seminar: James Joyce Flynn, Catherine
190/3 Research Seminar: Hawthorne & Melville Tamarkin, Elisa
190/4 Research Seminar: Reading Walden Carefully Breitwieser, Mitchell
190/5 Research Seminar: Harlem Renaissance Wagner, Bryan
190/6 Research Seminar: Sixty Years Since: The Historical Novel Kolb, Margaret
190/7 Research Seminar: Contemporary Historical Fiction Yoon, Irene
190/8 Research Seminar: Literary Theory and Its Objects Creasy, CFS
190/9 Research Seminar: The Faerie Queene: The Ethics of Imagination Landreth, David
190/10 Research Seminar: Pagan Fictions in Christian Literature Hobson, Jacob
190/11 Research Seminar: Andrew Marvell Picciotto, Joanna M
190/12 Research Seminar: California Books and Movies Since World War I Starr, George A.
190/13 Research Seminar: Alfred Hitchcock Bader, Julia
Fall, 2017
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
190/1 Research Seminar: Britain in the ‘60s Gang, Joshua
190/2 Research Seminar: The Historical Novel Puckett, Kent
190/3 Research Seminar: Another Day in Purgatory: Irish Literature and the Afterlife Creasy, CFS
190/6 Research Seminar: Literature and Revolution Lee, Steven S.
190/7 Research Seminar: Monsters, Exiles, and Outlaws in Medieval Literature Hobson, Jacob
190/8 Research Seminar: George Eliot and the Realist Novel Kolb, Margaret
190/9 Research Seminar: Historiography and Narrative: Literature and the Interstices of History Jones, Donna V.
190/10 Research Seminar: Suspicious Mind Best, Stephen M.
190/11 Research Seminar: Nonsense Hanson, Kristin
190/12 Research Seminar: Making Memories Yoon, Irene
Spring, 2017
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
190/1 Research Seminar: The Urban Postcolonial Ellis, Nadia
190/2 Research Seminar: Harlem Renaissance Wagner, Bryan
190/3 Research Seminar: Literature and the Linguistic Turn Blevins, Jeffrey
190/4 Research Seminar: Jane Austen and the Theory of the Novel Miller, D.A.
190/5 Research Seminar: Writing a World in Crisis: Medieval and Modern Perry, R. D.
190/6 Research Seminar: Shakespeare: From the Globe to the Global Bahr, Stephanie M
190/8 Research Seminar: Literatures of the Ocean Sorensen, Janet
190/9 Research Seminar: Beowulf Thornbury, Emily V.
190/10 Research Seminar: Hollywood in the 1930s Knapp, Jeffrey
190/11 Research Seminar: The Literature of Immortality Jones, Donna V.
190/13 Research Seminar: California Literature & Film Since WWI Starr, George A.

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