English R1B

Reading and Composition: The Mystery to a Solution—Or, on “slow reading”

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
4 Fall 2021 Choi, 최 Lindsay || Lindsay Chloe
MWF 11-12 233 Dwinelle

Book List

Clark, T.J.: The Sight of Death; Nakayasu, Sawako: Mouth: Eats Color; Philip, M. Nourbese: Zong!

Other Readings and Media

Course Reader, including secondary texts and shorter poems, which may include: 

Sina Queyras, “On Encountering Zong!

Zeno’s paradoxes of motion

Frank Kermode, “The Carnal and the Spiritual Senses” (from The Genesis of Secrecy)

Saidiya Hartman, excerpts from Lose Your Mother

Lyn Hejinian, “The Rejection of Closure” and excerpts from My Life

Julio Cortazar, “Blow-Up”



Akira Kurosawa, Rashomon;

Francis Ford Coppola, The Conversation; (optional) Michelangelo Antonioni, Blow-Up (optional); Ciro Guerra, Embrace of the Serpent (optional)


In this course on “slow reading,” our focus will be on the literature of iteration, revision, and repetitive revisiting, with a lurking fourth term: enigma. What draws us to look at the same text again and again—and must this mystery have a “solution”? Alongside poems, short stories, and novels, we’ll be reading critical texts that also emphasize reading slowly and iteratively—and, in our work together, either theorizing the use of “slow reading” or modeling it in practice.  

Over the course of the semester, we’ll be thinking about the relationship of iteration to iteration, and of what reveals itself or becomes apparent between revisions. What are the stakes, desires, and hopes attendant to moments of repetition? What might one learn from dwelling on a text—spending extended amounts of time with it, and revising (or re-visioning) your knowledge of it day by day? And what might be the relationship between this repetitive seeing and interpretation? The aim of this course will be to exercise our skills in reading and writing on literary texts, and to think critically about our analytic methods, as well as how, why, and to what end we might believe that they work.

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