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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.

Fall 2017

This course introduces students to questions, methods, and terms that they may bring to the study of narrative writing. Reading a variety of narrative texts, including novels, short stories, and graphic and nonfiction narratives along with critical and theoretical readings, we will work on shaping our insights into analytical essays that participate in the critical conversations that drive literary studies today.  Like all sections of Studies in Narrative, this course is writing intensive, requiring four papers as well as shorter assignments. Authors include Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, Sandra Cisneros, Alison Bechdel, and Joseph Conrad.

Aeron Hunt

This section (taught by Professor Restuccia) of Studies in Narrative will include modern and contemporary novels, with an emphasis on their narrative structures as they convey the meaning of the text.  Our novels will hark from various countries of the world to expose students to diverse cultures.  Major voices in contemporary theory will also be heard.  Psychoanalytic theory, post-structuralism, Marxist, feminist, and possibly film theory, as well as cultural criticism will be introduced.  Writing will also receive our full attention.    

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.

Spring 2018