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EN304 Syllabus 2013-14

 

Below is the list of set reading for 2013-14. Each week's primary reading is supplemented by additional works of criticism, theory, art, photography, music, film, and other sources. It's important you try to engage with as much of this as possible: they will provide crucial background to the set reading and start you thinking critically about the fiction we encounter. It's important, however, that you approach these sources in the same way you would the fiction itself - in other words, read skeptically, with the historical and social context of the piece in mind.

 

Autumn Term



Unit 1: City and Country

 

Week 1: Willa Cather, My Antonia (1918). Supplementary reading: Diane Quantic, 'The Unifying Thread: Connecting Place and Language' (from The Nature of the Place: A Study of Great Plains Fiction, Uni of Nebraska Press, 1997). Also have a look at this selection of American regional art. Mark's groups - lecture slides download here.

Week 2: Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My Lovely (1940). Supplementary reading: Fredric Jameson, ‘The Synoptic Chandler’ (from Shades of Noir, ed. Jane Copjec, Verso, 1993) [you are encouraged to read the whole essay, but see especially p.44 to top of p.48, and last paragraph of p.50 to bottom of p.52]. Also watch this five minute clip from Murder, My Sweet (Dir. Edward Dmytryk, 1944), which is the film adaptation of the novel. Mark's groups - lecture slides download here.

Week 3: Jack Kerouac, On the Road (1957). Supplementary reading: Norman Mailer, ‘The White Negro’ (1957) [Extract] (in The Portable Beat Reader, ed. Ann Charters, Penguin, 1992). Mark's groups - lecture slides download here. Stephen's groups - lecture slides download here.

Week 4: Don DeLillo, White Noise (1985). Supplementary reading: Jean Baudrillard, ‘The Hyperreal and the Imaginary’ (1981) (from Simulacra and Simulation, trans. Sheila Faria Glaser, Uni of Michigan Press, 1994). Mark's groups - lecture slides download here. Stephen's groups - lecture slides download here.

Week 5: Annie Proulx, Close Range: Wyoming Stories (1999). Supplementary reading: Jane Tompkins, ‘Women and the Language of Men’ [Extract] (from West of Everything: The Inner Life of Westerns, Oxford Uni Press, 1992). If you get a chance, also watch Brokeback Mountain (Dir. Ang Lee, 2005). Mark's groups - lecture slides dowload here. Stephen's groups - lecture slides download here.

 

Week 6: Reading Week

 
Unit 2: Black and White

 

Week 7: Claude McKay, Home to Harlem (1928). Supplementary reading: James Weldon Johnson, 'Harlem: The Culture Capital' (1925) (from The New Negro, ed. Alain Locke, Albert and Charles Boni, 1925). Also have a look at this selection of paintings by Archibald Motley, and this short video of Erroll Garner playing stride piano. Mark's groups - lecture slides here. Stephen's groups - lecture slides here.

Week 8: William Faulkner, Light in August (1932). Supplementary reading: W.J. Cash, 'Preview to Understanding' (from The Mind of the South, Alfred A. Knopf, 1941). Mark's groups - lecture slides here. Stephen's groups - lecture slides here.

Week 9: Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye (1970). Supplementary reading: Toni Morrison, 'Romancing the Shadow' [Extract] (from Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination, Harvard University Press, 1992). Mark's groups - lecture slides here. Stephen's groups - lecture slides here.

Week 10: Philip Roth, The Human Stain (2000). Supplementary reading: Henry Louis Gates, Jr., 'Introduction' (from Loose Canons: Notes on the Culture Wars, Oxford University Press, 1992). Mark's groups - lecture slides here. Stephen's groups - lecture slides here.

 

Spring Term



Unit 3: War and Peace

 

Week 1: Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises (aka Fiesta) (1926). Supplementary reading: Thomas Strychacz, 'Masculinity' (chapter 27 of Ernest Hemingway in Context, Cambridge UP, 2013). This is an ebook held by the library, so you will need your log in to access it. You can just read p.277-280 [**NOTE** The Library has temporarily ended it's access to this book, so you won't be able to read it this week. Apologies. It will be available within the next two weeks, in time for writing essays]. Listen to George Gershwin's 'An American in Paris' here. Mark's groups - lecture slides here. Stephen's groups - lecture slides here.

Week 2: Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony (1977). Supplementary reading: Leslie Marmon Silko, 'Tribal Prophecies' (1991) (from Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit, Touchstone, 1996). Mark's group - lecture slides here. Stephen's groups - lecture slides here.

Week 3: Michael Herr, Dispatches (1977). Supplementary reading: Salman Rushdie, 'Michael Herr: An Interview' (1988) (from Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism, 1981-1991, Granta Books, 1991). Also have a look at this selection of Vietnam War photography. Here is one of the clips from Full Metal Jacket (Dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1987) that we watched in class. Mark's groups - lecture slides here. Stephen's groups - lecture slides here.

Week 4: Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian (1985). Supplementary reading: Hannah Arendt, On Violence [Extract] (Harvest/HBJ, 1970). Mark's groups - lecture slides here. Stephen's groups - lecture slides here.

Week 5: Art Spiegelman, Maus (1991). Supplementary reading: Irving Howe, 'Writing and the Holocaust' (1986) [Extract] (from The Holocaust: Theoretical Readings, ed. Neil Levi and Michael Rothberg, Rutgers Uni Press, 2003). Mark's groups - lectures slides here. Stephen's groups - lecture slides here.

 

Week 6: Reading week


Unit 4: Men and Women

 

Week 7: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (1925). Supplementary reading: F. Scott Fitzgerald, 'The Crack-Up' (1936). Download here or read online here. Mark's groups - lecture slides here. Stephen's groups - lecture slides here.

Week 8: Joan Didion, The White Album (1979). Supplementary reading: Betty Friedan, 'The Problem That Has No Name' (from The Feminine Mystique, W.W. Norton & Company, 1963). Mark's groups - lecture slides here. Stephen's groups - lecture slides here.

Week 9: Tony Kushner, Angels in America (1993). Supplementary reading: Susan Sontag, 'AIDS and its Metaphors' (1989) [Extract] (from Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and its Metaphors, Penguin, 1991). If you're interested, I'd also recommend the HBO miniseries; you can get boxsets from the usual online retailers for less than £3. Mark's groups - lecture slides here. Stephen's groups - lecture slides here.

Week 10: Ana Castillo, So Far From God (1993). Supplementary reading: Gloria Anzaldua, Borderlands/La Frontera [Extract] (Aunt Lute Books, 1987).