English | Literature and Public Life
L240 | 26249 | Dana Anderson
L240 26249 LITERATURE AND PUBLIC LIFE
1:25p-2:15p MWF (30 students) 3 cr. A&H.
TOPIC: “Writing Change: The Rhetorical Impact of Literature”
Cultures praise the writings they call “literature” for a range of
reasons—for their memorable characters, their timeless stories, and
their stylistic specialness, to name a few. But beyond these
features, literature can be—and often has been—a very real, very
powerful form of acting upon the world. How has literature
functioned, and how may it continue to function, as a means for
moving readers toward specific kinds of beliefs and actions in the
broader world that literature inhabits?
This course will explore this question through the focused study of
two kinds of primary texts: (1) a variety of literary genres,
including both fiction and nonfiction narratives, that can be said
to have attempted to accomplish specific persuasive purposes in
relation to their readerships; and (2) a broad sampling of
historical, literary-critical, and rhetorical texts that will help
us to analyze and account for the specific mechanisms by which
literature tries to achieve its rhetorical aims. Not limiting
itself to a single specific period, genre, or theory, this course
aims to encourage in the broadest possible terms a heightened
rhetorical sensitivity to the power of literature in shaping our
lives and our world.
Course assignments will include several shorter writing assignments,
three essays, and a group student presentation.
This course is designated as fulfilling credit toward the Public and
Professional Writing concentration within the English major.