Investigates what it means to be a reader. Centers on authorial and reading challenges, shifting cultural and theoretical norms, and changes in the public's reading standards.
This is a course in the problematics of reading, by which I mean attention to the fascinations, affects, processes, identifications, and mysteries that happen when we read. We'll ask such questions as: What forms do the weird pleasures, wild emotions, and secret seductions of reading fiction take as texts and as psychic structures? How, exactly, do we "take in" fiction? How much control does the author have over how the reader feels while reading? Do we read differently when we're reading across gender or sexuality or ethnicity? Why do some readers choose puzzle novels while others prefer love stories? Can we love novels if they are about things we hate? Do we identify with characters who seem in many ways to be our opposites?
Because this course meets the "Theories and Methodologies" requirement for English majors, we will have a course packet of readings to try to get some tentative answers to these questions. We will also read some modern and contemporary fiction to take up the ideas in those essays. Discussion will be at the heart of what we do, so come each session expecting lots of talk and lively differences of opinion. Reading for the course will likely include: David Mitchell, _Cloud Atlas_, Ford Maddox Ford, _The Good Soldier_, Marilynne Robinson, _Housekeeping_ and Nami Mun, _Miles from Nowhere__.
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