English | Literatures in English, 1900-Present
E304 | 9065 | Steven Davis

Steven Davis

9:30a-10:45a TR (30 students) 3 cr., A&H.

TOPIC:  "Literature and Trash"

Twentieth century literature is fascinated with trash, waste, and
refuse; from T. S. Eliot’s Wasteland to pulp fiction, from Irvine
Welsh’s junkies to Alan Moore’s recycled League, modern writing
seems drawn to the “garbage” which litters the industrial and post-
industrial cultural landscapes. In this course, we will
examine “trash” as a literary trope, an aesthetic, a category for
marking bodies and a socio-environmental problem in literature from
America, Ireland, England and Scotland. In our reading of poems,
novels, short stories and graphic novels, we will consider some of
the following questions:  How is “trash” defined? How do writers
approach trash as a subject of literature? What new styles, modes of
literary production, and reading practices does it generate? How
does literature itself become (or resist becoming) trash? How and
why are certain bodies marked as trash in literature and society?
And what kinds of environmental problems does trash create? To
answer these questions, we will inspect both “literary”
and “popular” texts from the early 1920s to the present.
Readings will include the work of William Butler Yeats, T.S. Eliot,
William Faulkner, Raymond Chandler, Valerie Solanas, Chester Himes,
Dorothy Allison, Irvine Welsh, and Alan Moore, among others.
Students will be required to take reading quizzes, contribute to one
presentation, and write three, five-page essays.