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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

Studies in Narrative

english department

This course introduces students to questions that they might bring to the study of narrative works—primarily novels, tales, and non-fictional narratives, though it may also include drama, film, and narrative poems. It aims to introduce the various critical frames through which we construct interpretations. As part of the process of reading, students will be introduced to common critical terms; narrative genres, conventions, and discourses; the construction of the character and the ways of representing consciousness; and the ordering of narrative time. The course will also expose the student to the implications of taking critical positions.

Spring 2017

Studies in Narrative

This section aims to help students to expand their critical vocabulary, to improve their close reading skills, and to refine their writing abilities. We will read a wide variety of literary texts from different historical periods, but with an emphasis on more contemporary works. They will be both highbrow and popular, which will allow us to test the boundaries around what we think of as “literature.” We will think a lot  about what a narrative is, what purposes it serves, and how it continually changes over time. In addition, we will think self-reflexively about how the interpretation of narratives continues to change. Toward this end, we will also read several works of literary and cultural criticism.

Min Song

The goal of this course is to develop close-reading skills, build a critical and theoretical vocabulary, and refine writing and research abilities. We will read a range of narrative genres in an effort to understand what narrative is and how it develops over time, as well as exploring its role in society and culture. Readings will include Jane Austen’s Emma, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway.

Rachel Ernst

This course will explore the concept of narration with a focus on the unreliable narrator. Possible texts include Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, and Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

Amelie Daigle

The goal of this section is to help students hone their skills as readers and interpreters of narrative texts by refining their close reading, expanding their critical and theoretical vocabulary, and giving them experience researching.  Over the course of the semester, we will read a range of narrative genres from various cultural moments in order to consider how conventions and culture shape how narrative creates meaning.  Texts may include Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Hwang’s M. Butterfly, Bechdel’s Fun Home, and short stories by Doyle.

Kristin Imre

Studies in Narrative: Fiction and Fact

Although fact and fiction are often thought of as counterparts, we use both to make sense of our world. In this class, we will explore how narrative works as a bridge between fiction and fact, imagination and experience, art and science, and the past and the present. We will explore the role that narrative plays in how accepted truths of the modern world are shaped and passed down, and in how cultural values are created and challenged. The reading list will include texts from the eighteenth century to the present, including novels, autobiography, travel writing, and film.

Rebekah Mitsein

Fall 2017