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

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: Sixty Years Since: The Historical 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.
Fall, 2016
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
190/1 Research Seminar: Emily Dickinson Shoptaw, John
190/2 Research Seminar: Slow Seeing / Slow Reading Hejinian, Lyn
190/3 Research Seminar: Moby-Dick, and More Otter, Samuel
190/4 Research Seminar: U.S. Modernism Goble, Mark
190/5 Research Seminar: Alfred Hitchcock Bader, Julia
190/6 Research Seminar: The Medium Is the Message: Reading Poetry in Manuscript & Print, 1300-1600 Bahr, Stephanie M
190/7 Research Seminar: Note new topic: Troy and Tragedy Perry, R. D.
190/8 Research Seminar: James / Baldwin Best, Stephen M.
190/9 Research Seminar: On Style Xin, Wendy Veronica
190/10 Research Seminar: Do I Dare? Indecision and Modernist Literature Blevins, Jeffrey
190/11 Research Seminar: Modern California Literature and Film Starr, George A.
190/12 Research Seminar: Modern Utopian and Dystopian Literature and Film Starr, George A.
Spring, 2016
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
190/1 Research Seminar: The Sixties Goble, Mark
190/2 Research Seminar: Through a Future Darkly: Global Crisis and the Triumph of Dystopia Danner, Mark
190/3 Research Seminar: Late Henry James Breitwieser, Mitchell
190/4 Research Seminar: The Urban Postcolonial Ellis, Nadia
190/5 Research Seminar: Contemporary British Literature and Culture Falci, Eric
190/6 Research Seminar: Classical and Renaissance Drama Knapp, Jeffrey
190/7 Research Seminar: Materiality: How the Physical World Is Made to Mean Flynn, Catherine
190/8 Research Seminar: Vital Texts: Literature and the Discourse of Life Gaydos, Rebecca
190/9 Research Seminar: Medieval and Renaissance Lyric Crosson, Chad Gregory
190/10 Research Seminar: Purcell and Handel: Their Art in Setting English Texts to Music Hanson, Kristin
190/11 Research Seminar Lee, Steven S.
190/12 Research Seminar: Daniel Defoe and the Rise of the 18th-Century Novel Starr, George A.
190/13 Research Seminar: Keats and Literary Tradition Francois, Anne-Lise
Fall, 2015
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
190/1 Research Seminar: Aesthetics and Enlightenment Weiner, Joshua J
T. B. A.
190/2 Research Seminar: Materialism: Ancient and Modern Goldsmith, Steven
190/3 Research Seminar: Henry James and Novelistic Aesthetics Hale, Dorothy J.
190/4 Research Seminar Blanton, C. D.
190/6 Research Seminar: Emily Dickinson Shoptaw, John
190/7 Research Seminar: Ethics and U.S. Fiction Serpell, C. Namwali
190/8 Research Seminar: Reading Walden Breitwieser, Mitchell
190/9 Research Seminar: Ideology Gonzalez, Marcial
190/10 Research Seminar: Contemporary Native American Fiction Wong, Hertha D. Sweet
190/11 Research Seminar: Poetry and Poetics in the Middle Ages T. B. A.
190/13 Research Seminar: Race and Rumors of Race in American Prose Giscombe, Cecil S.
190/14 Research Seminar: Modern Utopian and Dystopian Books and Movies Starr, George A.
190/15 Research Seminar: Film Noir Bader, Julia
Spring, 2015
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
190/1 Research Seminar: The Temporality of Faulkner's Novels Hale, Dorothy J.
190/2 Research Seminar: Metamorphosis, Monsters, and the Supernatural Everyday Danner, Mark
190/4 Research Seminar Gardezi, Nilofar
190/5 Research Seminar: Materialism--Ancient and Modern Goldsmith, Steven
190/6 Research Seminar: Literature and Revolution Lee, Steven S.
190/7 Research Seminar: Toni Morrison Breitwieser, Mitchell
190/8 Research Seminar: Shakespeare’s Versification Hanson, Kristin
190/9 Research Seminar: Mass Entertainment in Classical Hollywood Film Knapp, Jeffrey
190/10 Research Seminar: Utopian and Dystopian Literature and Film Starr, George A.
190/11 Research Seminar: Alfred Hitchcock Bader, Julia
190/12 Research Seminar: The Oversexed Cinema of Pedro Almodóvar Miller, D.A.

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