L450 1984 HEDIN
Seminar: British and American Authors

9:30a-10:45a MW (15)


This seminar will consider fiction written in English in the last decade - or, to stretch it a bit, since 1990. We will focus for the most part on what we could call contemporary realism, though we also read works of fantasy, speculation, and self-conscious, postmodern reflexivity. We will consider issues such as: What does realism mean in our era? What stories and strategies come under its domain? What is the impulse behind those works of fiction that move beyond realism? How far beyond realism do they move - how far can they move? Above all, we will be considering works that are, in my view, compelling reading.

Students will write two short papers (3-4 pages) on individual works and one longer, seminar paper (12-15 pages) of a broader, synthesizing nature. Students will be expected to have read the work assigned in its entirety by the first class in which it is to be discussed. They may also be asked to write brief email responses to the works in advance as a way of providing focus for the class discussion.

The reading list is incomplete; please email me in November (hedin@indiana.edu) for a final list. We will be reading, on average, a book per week. By all means come in to my office hours (Ballantine 129, M-Th 2-4, F 1:30-3:30) if you would like to discuss the course at greater length.

Reading List:
Phillip Roth, The Human Stain
Ian McEwan, Atonement
Laurie Moore, Birds of America
J.M. Coetzee, Disgrace
Steven Milhauser, The Knife Thrower and Other Stories
Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpretation of Maladies
Alan Lightman, Einstein's Dreams
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Selections from David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men
Charles Baxter, The Feast of Love