English 190

Research Seminar: Making Memories

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
12 Fall 2017 Yoon, Irene
TTh 5-6:30 263 Dwinelle British 20th- and 21st-Century
American Literature
Research Seminars

Book List

Atwood, Margaret: The Blind Assassin (2000); Barnes, Julian: The Sense of an Ending (2011); Cole, Teju: Open City (2011); Eskin, Blake: The Making and Unmaking of Binjamin Wilkomirski (2003); Gondry, Michel, and Kaufman, Charlie: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004); Ishiguro, Kazuo: Pale View of Hills (1982); McCarthy, Tom: Remainder (2005); McEwan, Ian: Atonement (2001); Murdoch, Iris: Jackson's Dilemma (1995); Sebald, W.G.: Austerlitz (2001)

Other Readings and Media

A course reader with select critical readings:  Paul Ricoeur, "Narrative Time" (1985); Benedict Carey, "A Study of Memory Looks at Fact and Fiction," New York Times (2/3/2007); Michael Hopkin, "Iris Murdoch's last book reveals early Alzheimer's," Nature (12/1/2004); P. Garrard, et al, "The effects of very early Alzheimer's disease on the characteristics of writing by a renowned author," Brain (2005): 250-60; (selections) Frank Kermode, The Sense of an Ending (1967); (selections) Alison Winter, Memory: Fragments of a Modern History (2012); (selections) Marianne Hirsch, The Generation of Postmemory (2012).


This seminar examines a literary turn toward narratives of counterfeit confessional memory. It asks what is at stake in narratiing and even confessing a past that didn't happen—and what that even means in the context of a fictional text. These works invite us to consider both conscious and unconscious counterfeiters, those who only belatedly—or never—realize that their memories were imagined all along. These questions find echoes in recent heated debates over the nature of "recovered memories"; the ethics of certain therapeutic and pharmaceutical memory treatments for PTSD; and the proliferation of social media platforms for curating experience with varying degrees of regulation and accountability. Familiar debates over the status of voluntary and involuntary memory in both life and literature take on new valences as the unreliability of a narrator becomes as much a function of his or her own capacity to remember as the desire to present a particular version of a story. The course moves between examinations of narrative and memory construction at the levels of narrators, authors, and narrator-authors, as we consider a wide range of contemporary novels, secondary criticism, and relevant literary controversies.

Please read the paragraph about English 190 on page 2 of the instructions area of this Announcement of Classes for more details about enrolling 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
190/12 Research Seminar: William Faulkner's Temporalities Hale, Dorothy J.
190/13 Research Seminar: Sixties Cinema Knapp, Jeffrey
190/14 Research Seminar: The Classic Western and Then Some 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
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
190/7 Research Seminar: Place-Love: Fiction and the Melancholy of Form Xin, Wendy Veronica
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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