English R1B

Reading and Composition: University Life

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
11 Fall 2017 Neal, Allison
TTh 11-12:30 279 Dwinelle

Book List

Amis, Kingsley: Lucky Jim; Batuman, Elif: The Idiot; DeLillo, Don: White Noise; Smith, Zadie: On Beauty

Other Readings and Media

We will read essays by I.A. Richards, Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren, Mark McGurl, and John Guillory. We will also engage with a vast swath of poetry, including work by Marianne Moore, W.H. Auden, Frank O'Hara, Sylvia Plath, and Adrienne Rich. These materials will be available on bCourses. Please do not purchase course materials before the first day of class.


How have British and American writers formed their work around and inside the university? How does reading and writing literature fit into university life? How do we know whether a piece of fiction or poetry is "academic" or "anti-academic" in style? How does reading as a "student" differ from reading for pleasure? This course will explore the place of English literature within the university system by engaging with a series of post-WWII campus novels and poems. We will also read a number of contemporary treatises that explore the purpose of the humanities within higher education, and we'll ask how the conception of English literature (and its purpose, particularly in relation to Rhetoric and Composition courses) has evolved since 1945.

This class is organized around texts that thematize the academic aspects of literature, but its primary goal is to help you to approach literature both in and out of the university system. Just as literature produces different modes of reception (academic or otherwise), your writing will be characterized by different modes of analytic inquiry. 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 two research papers and revisions.

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