English | Recent Writing
L381 | 12635 | Ray Hedin

Ray Hedin

12635 - 11:15a-12:30p TR (30 students) 3 cr., A&H.

This course will focus on writers whose work reflects not only great
narrative skills – of various kinds – but issues of contemporary
cultural and/or literary importance: e.g., coming to grips with a
troubled national past (Schlink, The Reader; Spiegelman, Maus I and
II);  a troubling present (Coetzee, Disgrace); or a possible
nightmare future (McCarthy, The Road). In addition: urban grit
(Price, Lush Life); the possibility/impossibility of belief (Strout,
Abide with Me; The Road again); gender issues (Munro, Hateship,
Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage; Bloom, A Blind Man Can
See How Much I Love You;  Disgrace again) contemporary
intergenerational relationships (Nordan, Sharpshooter Blues;
Tighlman, In a Father’s Place); the role of storytelling
(O’Brien,The Things They Carried, Maus I and II again).

All of these writers have written at least three books. One purpose
of this criterion of selection is that it will expose students to
writers they might want to follow up on. To encourage this, one of
the essays in the course will require students to read one other
book by a given writer and to describe the fictional world that
emerges from connecting the two. Students will also write a second
essay and two exams, plus occasional short response pieces.

This list is not complete, nor is this description iron-clad. There
will be selected short stories interspersed along the way both to
widen the range of authors and issues and to provide some breathing
space in a course that will require a good deal of reading.