E304 2069 CRAWFORD
Literature in English, 1900-present

2:30p-3:45p TR (30) 3 CR.

Topic: “Visualizing and Verbalizing the Abstract”

We will focus on modes of representing the abstract and the concrete. The representation of the abstract will be explored as the attempt to represent contradictions and that which Dostoevsky refers to as "hyperconsciousness." The representation of the concrete will be explored as ways of working language for its most material possibilities. One of our focal points will be attempts to separate ideas (abstractions) from pictures, bodies, and objects. The interrogation of the relation between pictures and ideas has been named "picture theory." We will connect our study of "picture theory" to the study of gender and race as the embodiment of abstraction. In our first novel, a pre-1900, turn of the century novel, What Maisie Knew, the visualization and verbalization of the abstract is at the center of the trauma of the main character. We will move from What Maisie Knew to As I Lay Dying, a novel which includes blank spaces and nonverbal pictures as Faulkner interrogates the relation between the abstract and the concrete. Other texts studied will include Cane, Absalom, Absalom!, and To the Lighthouse.

There will be three formal paper assignments: two five page essays and a ten page essay.