English | Introduction to Fiction
L204 | 1234 | Foster

4:00p-5:15p D (25) 3 cr


This course will provide an introduction to the techniques and critical
vocabulary needed to both read and write critically about fictional
narratives, such as characterization, setting, emplotment, and point of
view.  The more specific focus of the course will be on the relation
between fictional narrative and "real life" or "authentic experience."  Is
a fictional narrative merely an accurate reflection of some preexisting
external reality or some subjective state of mind, as is assumed by a
REALIST concept of fiction?  If so, then what distinguishes fictional from
non-fictional narratives?  On the other hand, if fiction does not simply
reflect some external reality, then is fiction merely extraneous to
"reality," merely a form of escapism?  In contrast to both these two
possibilities, we will focus on the argument that fictional narratives
PARTICIPATE in the production of a shared social reality, instead of
simply mirroring a reality or an experience that exists before any story
is told about it.  Our readings will focus on fiction that explores how
our "experience" of "reality" always takes a narrative or fictionalized

Texts for the class will include:
James Joyce, DUBLINERS
Nella Larsen, PASSING
Carole Maso, THE ART LOVER
Selected detective stories

Assignments will consist of 5 short essays, ranging in length from 1 to 4