L204 0260 MARSH
Introduction to Fiction

8:55a-10:10a D (25) 3 CR.


This course will cut across centuries and nations to study the techniques and essentials of great fiction-writing, from fairy tales to postmodernist detective stories and “offensive” writing. In doing so, it will also investigate the perennial human appeal and the cultural power of story-telling—as well as its limits – and of language itself. We will study (in logical, not chronological order) sketches, short stories, novellas, and whole novels by such 19th-century authors as Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Charles Dickens (Oliver Twist), Conan Doyle, Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness), and Robert Louis Stevenson (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde). 20th-century authors will include (at least) Hemingway, D.H. Lawrence, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Graham Greene (The Third Man), James Baldwin, Jorge Luis Borges, Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita), Leslie Marmon Silko, and Tim O’Brien. Looking at film adaptations will also forward our investigations. Two mandatory film screenings and one optional screening. Two mid-terms; three papers (one short, one medium, one long,); cumulative final exam. Some choice between critical and creative assignments. I will lecture formally on occasions, but questions, discussion, argument, small group work, and all other kinds of participation are the essence of this class.