English | Recent Writing
L381 | 13217 | Alyce Miller
L381 13217 RECENT WRITING
4:00p-5:15p TR (30 students) 3 cr., A&H.
This course has been designed around a broadly construed theme
of “legacy,” or “what is handed down,” as it applies to family,
culture, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, class, religion, and
society. We will read a range of exciting, eclectic, contemporary
works (something along the lines of 20-25 individual short
fictions, 2-3 short story collections, 3-4 novels) by “writers of
all stripes,” some well-known, some less well-known, and discuss
these works in a seminar-style setting. Please note that, though
the instructor may give brief mini-lectures, the class itself will
be heavily discussion-oriented, and those discussions will rely on
individual students’ careful preparation and close reading skills.
Though this course is designed for English majors, anyone from any
department with a strong interest in reading and writing critically
about contemporary American literature is welcome.
Some of the writers that may make appearances either through
individual stories or collections are Alice Munro, Edward P. Jones,
Edwidge Danticat, Cynthia Ozick, Percival Everett, Junot Diaz,
Maxine Swann, Ben Greenman, Thomas Glave, Lorrie Moore, Danzy Senna,
Jim Grimsley, John Edgar Wideman, Sherman Alexie, Deborah Eisenberg,
Jhumpa Lahiri, Stuart Dybek, Charles Baxter, Lore Segal, etc.
Expect to read the equivalent of a book a week, and perhaps we’ll
stir in some interviews with writers and short essays by critics to
provide a lens for our discussions. University-level writing skills
will be expected from all class members, and reading notes are
Assignments will include variations on the following themes: two
longer papers, or several shorter papers; an essay exam or two that
involve passage identification and critical interpretation; maybe
some pop quizzes, etc. Grades will reflect level of participation in
the discussions, and both the quality and the quantity of the
Please note: A first-day assignment which will be sent around to
your IU email addresses about a week or two before class begins. Be
sure to check so you can arrive prepared for our first meeting.
Class books will be ordered and available through Boxcar Books on
6th Street. Short fictions will be posted on e-reserve for your