L204 1923 MARSH
Introduction to Fiction

11:15a-12:30p MW (25) 3 cr.


This course will cut across centuries and nations to study the techniques and essentials of great fiction-writing—from characterization to symbolism, and from unreliable narrators to implied readers. In doing so, it will also—inevitably- -investigate the perennial human appeal and the cultural power of story-telling—as well as its limits, and that of language itself. We will study (in logical, not chronological order) sketches, short stories, novellas, and whole novels by such 19th-century authors as: Edgar Allen Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ambrose Bierce, Kate Chopin, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Charles Dickens (Oliver Twist), Conan Doyle, Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness), and Robert Louis Stevenson (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde). 20th-century authors will include (at least): Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Graham Greene (The Third Man), James Baldwin, John Updike, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jorge Luis Borges, Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita), and Tim O’Brien.

There will be two mandatory film screenings and one optional. Course requirements will include: two mid-terms; three papers (one short, one medium, one long); cumulative final exam. Students will have some choice between critical and creative assignments. I will lecture formally on occasions, but questions, discussion, participation, and argument will be essential to this class.