Visions and Revisions/Twice-Told Tales: Story-Telling and Narrative Authority
This course will investigate seven pairings of well-known literary texts with later, twentieth-century re-interpretations, visions, and revisions. The purpose of our study will be to set up a dialogue between canonical works of English and American literature and their contemporary counterparts. Our discussions will focus on the ways in which the concerns of past generations of writers are refracted through the lens of more recent literary works, and on the question of how a narrative's authority and integrity are challenged as texts are re-imagined. We will examine plays, novels, and children's literature by British and American writers; we will also read a selection of theoretical works on narration and literary authority. Requirements: Two short papers, and one longer research term paper; two in-class presentations. Among the works we will read are: William Shakespeare, Hamlet and Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead; William Shakespeare, King Lear and Jane Smiley, A Thousand Acres; Emily Bronte, Jane Eyre and Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea; Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland, and excerpts from Alternative Alices and Fantastic Alice; Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita and Pia Pera, Lo's Diary; Frank L. Baum, The Wizard of Oz, and Geoff Ryman, Was; Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway and Michael Cunningham, The Hours.