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Literature and History

ENGL 573.301
instructor(s):
T 12-3

What is the relationship between the historical and the literary? How do we read literature historically and history literarily? In this class, we will examine various paradigms for interpreting the relationships between history and literature. We will seek to consider literature not merely as a verifiable object, and history not simply as the context for aesthetics, but rather to generate a robust relationship between the allegorical and the archival. We will read theoretical accounts of the relationship between history and literature, as well as "case studies" of recent literary and historical criticism that exemplify various ways of cross-reading history and literature, drawn from the burgeoning field of transnational American Studies. We will likely read texts by some or all of the following: R. G. Collingwood; Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy; Friedrich Nietzsche; Paul de Man; Michel Foucault; Hayden White; Catherine Gallagher and Stephen Greenblatt; Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak with Mahasweta Devi; Edward Said; Ranajit Guha; Saidiya Hartman; Brent Edwards with Claude McKay; Alys Eve Weinbaum with Frederich Engels; Colleen Lye with Jack London; and Kirsten Silva Gruesz.