Gianna G Craig
Critical interpretation and meaning in works of prose fiction, representing a variety of types and periods.
The Fiction of Time
This course will provide an opportunity to consider the relationship between fiction and culture through an inquiry into narrative representations of time. For our purposes, “time” will be broadly construed. Our inquiry will take us through novels and short stories that engage time thematically as well as those that engage time through formal innovations. The issues we will consider include, but are not limited to, the global standardization of clock-time; time-travel; concepts of “past”, “present”, and “future”; and “official” or “public” methods of marking time as opposed “private” ways of marking time. We will explore how time is both experienced and narrated by attending to each work’s historical context as well as the varied social positions that these texts represent along the lines of race, class, gender, and sexuality.
While this course is organized around “time,” our treatment of these texts fits within the larger project of practicing meaningful interpretation of literature both for enjoyment and for academic engagement. Although the course theme provides an organizational logic to this class, students’ interests and ideas will shape how we read the course texts as the term develops; students will be encouraged to raise their own questions about the material throughout the quarter. Along the way, this class will provide strategies for close reading, interpreting literature, and writing in an academic context. Students will be expected to think critically about the course materials and to actively participate in class activities, including group work and class discussion. Group presentations may also be required.
This course fulfills the University of Washington’s W-requirement by requiring 10-12 pages of graded, out-of-class writing.
Our primary texts will likely include: Joseph Conrad, The Secret Agent (1907) Octavia Butler, Kindred (1979) Fae Myenne Ng, Bone (1993) David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas (2004)
A course pack, including short stories, excerpts from novels, and short selections of theory and literary criticism, will also be required. Short fiction may include work by Margaret Atwood, Ray Bradbury, Kate Chopin, Ralph Ellison, Louise Erdrich, Ernest Hemingway, and Virginia Woolf among others.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading