Nations, like people, seek identities to explain their place in the world. Among the attributes of national identity, culture plays a pivotal role, and within the realm of national culture, literature is especially formative. As a consequence, literature has long been read, studied, and taught as a national phenomenon. However, at the turn of the century we are becoming increasingly aware of the extent to which culture is not delimited by national borders. Local economies are fragments of the global economy that embraces and overwhelms them; likewise, individual lived experience is increasingly shaped by the pressure of global culture. In this program we will address the following questions with reference to the literature of the Americas, North and South: What is the role of literature in the global system? Does literature reflect developments in global culture? Does it resist them? Does it remain an expression of national culture? Have past efforts to read literature as a national experience been misguided? Has there been a shift from a national to a global preoccupation, and if so when did (or when will) it happen?
During fall quarter, we will focus on the modernization processes that took place over the first half of the 20th century and their repercussions on various definitions of nationalism, nationality and national culture. Our work this quarter will lay the foundation for thinking about globalization and late 20th century literature in the winter. In the fall we will explore the following nodes of inquiry:
Nation and mythology (Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby
and Eustasio Rivera's The Vortex);
Nation and internationalism (Poetry: Latin American and US Modernisms);
Nation and region (Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury and Onetti's A Brief Life);
Nation and city (Ellisonís Invisible Man and Arlt's The Seven Madmen).
Lectures will provide the cultural, historical and
social contexts which are indispensable in order to achieve a clear understanding
of the relevance of each writer and their period. Other materials, such
as Netscape sites and movies, will complement the lectures, readings and
seminars. The course will include a weekly workshop devoted to the study
of literary theory. The concepts explored in workshops will help students
understand the conventions of literary criticism. Students are expected
to apply such concepts in their analyses of the literary examples and in
their responses to the central questions of the program.
|10-12 Lecture||9-11 Lecture||10 - 12 Seminar|
Arlt, Roberto. The Seven Madmen (1929). Baltimore: Serpent's Tail, 1998.
Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man (1952). NY: Random House/Vintage, 1995.
Faulkner, William. The Sound and the Fury (1929). NY: Random House/Vintage, 1991.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby (1925). NY: Scriber, 1995.
Onetti, Juan Carlos. A Brief Life (1950). NY: Viking Penguin, 1976.
Rivera, Eustasio. The Vortex (1924). NY: T.V.R.T., 1979.
Literary Theory Workshop:
Ryan, Michael. Literary Theory. Malden & Oxford: Blackwell, 1999.
Bishop, Elizabeth. The Complete Poems (1969). NY: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1984.
James, Henry. The Aspern Papers (1888). NY: Oxford UP, 2000.
Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye (1970). NY: NAL, 1994.
Shakespeare, William. King Lear (1606).
NY: Penguin, 1999.
Required and supplementary articles and chapters related to weekly topics will be available at Open Reserve in the Library.
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