English R1B

Reading and Composition: Thinking through Memory in Poetry and Fiction

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
9 Fall 2022 Swensen, Dana
MWF 1-2 DWIN233

Book List

Carson , Anne: Nox ; Gaiman , Neil : The Ocean at the End of the Lane ; Ishiguro, Kazuo : When We Were Orphans; Shakespeare, William : Sonnets ; Yamashita, Karen Tei: Letters to Memory


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 from the 16th through the 21st century. We will consider memory as an expansive and rich literary territory. In doing so we will move from the science fiction of Ursula LeGuin to the sonnets of Thomas Wyatt and Shakespeare to the photographic diaries of Bernadette Mayer; from the visual memories of Anne Carson's Nox to the unreliable memories of Kazuo Ishiguro's narrators. 

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 it. 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. 

Back to Semester List