The Novel

DESCRIPTION: Our broad topic will be the art of prose fiction.  We will be concerned with genre and a variety of storytelling techniques as well as narrative elements such as plot, discourse, point of view, and focalization.  Basic questions for understanding narratives will be a focus: e.g. who speaks, who speaks to whom, who speaks when, who speaks what language, who speaks with what authority. Stories give pleasure by amusing us; they tell us about the world, show us things from other vantages, enable us to understand the motives/desires of others. Stories present a paradox we will explore as a meta-theme: they are a powerful mechanism for internalizing norms, yet they provide a site for social criticism.

REQUIRED TEXTS:
Coetzee, J. M: Foe
Coover, Robert: Noir
Crichton, Michael: Jurassic Park
Defoe, Daniel: Robinson Crusoe
Morales, Rodney: For a Song
Morrison, Toni: Jazz
Ryan, Shawna Yang: Water Ghosts
Shelley, Mary: Frankenstein

STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES: Students finishing the class will be more aware of the complexities of storytelling; will better understand the development of the novel and within a wide arc of history; will develop stronger analytic vocabulary for interpreting the art of narrative.