English | Literary Interpretation
L202 | 6800 | Shane Vogel
L202 LITERARY INTERPRETATION
PREREQUISITE: Completion of the English Composition requirement.
Open to majors and declared minors only.
6800 - 2:30p-3:45p TR (25 students) 3 cr. A&H, IW.
In the stretch between sunset and sunrise, whole worlds come into
being. Nightlife has been denounced, celebrated, and romanticized;
analyzed, excavated, and interpreted; legislated, protested, and
reformed; written, acted, and sung. This course takes the time and
space of the night as a way to introduce the concerns of literary
interpretation and writing about literature. In doing so, it poses
questions about the uses and possibilities of literature and other
cultural texts (including film, visual art, and performance). We
will examine how writers, artists, and performers have imagined
nightlife—its people and places, its sounds and sights, its ethics
and values, its comforts and fears. What themes and issues become
most clear in the darkness of nightfall? What activities and
practices flourish while most people slumber? What are the genres,
settings, and characters that make up the literature of nightlife?
How does nightlife contribute to the formation of communities and
identities? What goes on afterhours, either in the saloons and
nightclubs of the city or in the dreamscapes of our minds? In
exploring these questions, we will consider a diverse range of
creative forms and genres, including short stories (“Young Goodman
Brown,” “Sonny’s Blues,” “The Man in the Black Suit”), poetry (by
Langston Hughes and Joseph Moncure March), drama (A Midsummer
Night’s Dream, The Iceman Cometh, The Wild Party) graphic novels and
children’s literature (The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Where the Wild
Things Are), philosophical texts (On Dreams), and film (The Jazz
Students will be responsible for two short essays (with formal
revisions), a longer essay, a midterm exam, and a final exam.
Students are also required to participate actively in the course by
reading the assigned materials and contributing to class discussion.