English R1B

Reading and Composition: Thinking through Memory in Poetry and Fiction

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Session Course Areas
1 Summer 2022 Swensen, Dana
TWTh 12-2:30 122 Wheeler A


How and why do we remember? What does ‘memory’ mean to both an individual and a culture? How do fictional narrators construct their memorial landscapes? In this class we will explore the topic of memory as it appears in a wide variety of genres and styles throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. We will consider memory as an expansive and rich literary territory. In doing so we will move from the science fiction of Ursula LeGuin and Ted Chiang to the photographic diaries of Bernadette Mayer; from the unreliable memories of Kazuo Ishiguro’s narrators, to visual memories in the poetry of Anne Carson’s Nox.

This course will involve the writing of essays along with regular peer review exercises. In addition to this, two creative-writing assignments will be pursued throughout the weeks of the session which will bind the process of reading about memory to that of writing about memory. Throughout, the emphasis will be on honing our analytic skills in writing through processes of revision. As a fulfillment of the R1B component, we will focus on writing progressively longer essays and incorporating digital and bibliographic research techniques into our work.


Required Book List for Purchase:

Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane 

Kazuo Ishiguro, When We Were Orphans 

Karen Tei Yamashita, Letters to Memory 

Anne Carson, Nox 

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