English 3650A Contemporary Literature * MW 16:00 – 17:15 PM * Dr. Kiki Benzon * firstname.lastname@example.org * Office Hours: TH 15:00 – 16:00 University Hall B-810K
This course covers late twentieth- and twenty-first century literary trends. We will look at writing that demonstrates important formal aspects of postmodern and cybernetic ficstion, while reflecting the cultural conditions of the period. A small number of theoretical essays will inform our interpretations of the primary readings. Our exploration of contemporary literature will be divided into five main themes: Narrative Innovation, Historical Revision, Image and Text, Science and Technology, and Writing and New Media.
Geyh, Leebron and Levy, eds. The Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Literature.
Auster, Paul. The New York Trilogy.
DeLillo, Don. Libra.
Moulthrop, Stuart. Victory Garden.
Tomasula, Steve. Vas: An Opera in Flatland.
Evaluation: midterm exam (25%); short paper (15%); final paper (30%); final exam (30%).
Prerequisites: any two 2000-level courses.
Week One: Jan 7. Introduction to the course
Wed. Ihab Hassan, “Towards a Concept of Postmodernism”
Week Two: Jan 12 – 26. Narrative Innovation
Mon. Michael Bérubé, from Public Access; Kurt Vonnegut, from Breakfast of Champions
Wed. Walter Abish, “Ardor/Awe/Atrocity”; Donald Barthelme, “Sentence”
Week Three: Jan 19 – 23.
Mon. Umberto Eco, from Postscript to The Name of the Rose; Mark Leyner, from Toothprints on a Corn Dog
Wed. Joyce Carol Oats, “The Turn of the Screw”
Week Four: Jan 26 – 30.
Mon. Paul Auster, “City of Glass” from The New York Trilogy
Wed. Paul Auster,”City of Glass” from The New York Trilogy
Week Five: Feb 2 – 6.
Mon. Fredric Jameson, from Postmodernism and Consumer Capitalism; Jean Baudrillard, from Simulacra and Simulation
Wed. Midterm (25%)
Week Six: Feb 9 – 13. Spring Break.
Week Seven: Feb 16 – 20. Historical Revision
Mon. Don DeLillo, Libra
Wed. Don DeLillo, Libra
Week Eight: Feb 23 – 27. Image and Text.
Mon. Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli, from Paul Auster’s City of Glass
Wed. Art Speigleman, from Maus
Week Nine: Mar 2 – 6.
Mon. Steve Tomasula. Vas: An Opera in Flatland
Wed. Steve Tomasula. Vas: An Opera in Flatland Short paper due (15%).
Week Ten: Mar 9 – 13. Science and Technology.
Mon. Donna Harroway, from A Cyborg Manifesto; William Gibson, “The Grunsback Continuum”
Wed. Neal Stevenson, from Snow Crash
Week Eleven: Mar 16 – 20.
Mon. Douglas Coupland, from Generation X; Gerald Vizenor, “Feral Laser”
Wed. Ursula le Guin, Schroedinger’s Cat; Octavia Butler, from Imago
Week Twelve: Mar 23 – 27. Writing and New Media.
Mon. Terry Harpold, “Conclusions”
Wed. Jane Yellowlees Douglas, from I have Said Nothing; Michael Joyce, from afternoon, a story (see electronic selections from Joyce and Douglas at www.wwnorton.com)
Week Thirteen: Mar 30 – Apr 3.
Mon. Jorges Luis Borges, “The Garden of Forking Paths” (handout)
Wed. Stuart Moulthrop, Victory Garden
Week Fourteen: Apr 6 – 10.
Mon. Stuart Moulthrop, Victory Garden
Wed. Lexia Perplexia (www.altx.com/ebr)
Week Fifteen: April 13 – 17.
Mon. No class.
Wed. Review. Final paper due (30%)
Grade scale: A+ 91% to 100%; A 85% to 90%; A- 80% to 84%; B+ 77% to 79%; B 73% to 76%; B-70% to 72%; C+ 67% to 69%; C 63% to 66%; C- 60% to 62%; D+ 55% to 59%; D 50% to 54%; F <50%.
Course Policies: Papers handed in after the due date will be subject to a reduction of one full letter grade per day late, for up to four days. An “A” paper, in other words, will receive a “B” grade if it is handed in one day late. After four days, the paper will receive a zero. All papers must be written in accordance with MLA rules for citation and style. Plagiarism is theft; if plagiarism is suspected, the matter will be investigated and, if found guilty, the student will fail the course and may face further penalty from the university. A missed test or final exam will receive a zero grade.