English R1B

Reading and Composition: A Thing or Two

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
5 Fall 2021 Elias, Gabrielle
MWF 11-12 180 Social Sciences


This course and its reading list share a preoccupation with things. Together we will explore the unique challenges of representing objects in literature and the innovations that have arisen out of confronting the medium’s (that is, language’s) constraints. The examples we'll encounter in our reading—we’ll consider food, a chest of drawers, a television set, among other things—will prompt us to ask questions about the use of objects. We will think about objects in relation to mood, affect, memory, about personal connections to objects and the relationships objects establish and foster. Our focus will be on literature from the 20th century to the present, but we will also reference both visual art and the internet on occasion. 

This course, as its number indicates, is also centered on composition. Your writing and thinking about the topic will play a large role in shaping our conversations. You will work on developing an effective, personalized writing practice that you can take with you beyond this class.


Readings may include: Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons, Jean Toomer’s Cane, Djuna Barnes’ Nightwood, Katherine Mansfield’s “The Daughters of the Late Colonel,” Tan Lin’s Insomnia and the Aunt, Aimee Bender’s The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Pamela Lu’s Ambient Parking Lot

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