English R1A

Reading and Composition: Modernism's Apocrypha

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
6 Spring 2019 Cohan, Nathan
MWF 1-2 122 Wheeler

Book List

Bolano, Roberto: Nazi Literature in the Americas; Carlyle, Thomas: Sartor Resartus; Lispector, Clarice: Breath of Life; O'Brien, Flann: At Swim-Two-Birds


This course teaches critical analysis and college-level writing skills through existent works of literature and art that deal with inexistent, unverifiable, or otherwise unreadable texts. The figure of the apocryphal book, or invented author, will serve as a lens for thinking about the relationship between the authentic and the fake, the original and the copy, and the literary and the obscene, relationships that came to a head in the early-twentieth-century artistic movement known as Modernism. We will read literature and criticism of the Modernist period as well as some proto-Modernist works and later ones that invent their own Modernisms. Further areas of inquiry will include mimicry and satire, the politics of memory, fake philosophy, and cosmic horror.

Students will write, peer-review, and revise a series of literary-critical essays, with the goal of fostering attentive reading, imaginative analysis, and bold writing.

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