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Transatlantic Twentieth-Century Novel

ENGL 765.301

This seminar has three broad goals:  1) to practice and refine the close analysis of fiction at the advanced graduate level, with some critical introduction to contemporary and classic theories of the novel;  2) to consider the role of close reading skills in the light of current debates on literary-critical methodology in our discipline; and 3) to chart a literary history of the transatlantic novel through a small but integrated set of English and American texts from the first to the last decades of the twentieth century.     Most of the novels we'll read are highly canonical, even hypercanonical, and we will take their familiarity as a starting point to understand the current utility as well as the potential limitations of such heuristic models as modernism, literary impressionism, the novel of consciousness, primitivism, postcolonialism, Cold War culture, posthistoricism, transnationalism, and world literature.  Primary readings are likely to include the following:   Conrad's The Secret Agent, Nabokov's Lolita, Stein's Three Lives, Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway,Ford's The Good Soldier, Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, Lawrence's St Mawr, Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop, Morrison's Beloved and Rushdie's Shame.  Weekly readings will also include a number of critical and theoretical essays on narrative theory and interpretive methodology.   There will be three main written requirements, a 1000-word bibliographic essay, a 500-word paper proposal or abstract, and a 6500-7500-word final essay.

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