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Nuclear Epic

ENGL 264.301
TR 12-1:30
Benn 20

Jacques Derrida wrote in 1984 that "Literature has always belonged to the
nuclear epoch." Taking Derrida's cryptic statement as its starting point, this
course will explore the relations between narrative and the nuclear condition.
Why do fantasies of nuclear apocalypse so frequently imagine a loss of literacy
and a return to primary orality? Besides orality, what other characteristics of
epic (e.g., scale, inventory, holism, predestination) do writers of the nuclear
adopt or adapt? By what tactics—deterrence? pre-emptive strike?—does fiction
respond to Cold War lingo or "nuke-speak"? And how do we read
post-structuralism back into its nuclear contexts? Readings to include
Baudrillard, Derrida, DeLillo, Ferguson, Hegel, Hoban, Pynchon, Schwenger, and

fulfills requirements
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major