Writing About Literature: Literature and Memory
In this course, we will explore an exciting range of possible relationships between literature, memory and history. Memory may be personal or national, collective or individual. It is, by turns, unreliable, haunting, inescapable, compelling, or traumatic. It creates moments of pleasure, struggle and reckoning. We will examine the role of memory in works drawn from the genres of fiction, non-fiction, drama and poetry, from varying nations and time periods. Texts represented are likely to include William Shakespeare's Hamlet, Julian Barnes's England, England, Alexander Pope's "Eloisa to Abelard," Natasha Trethewey's Native Guard, and Marie-Elena John's Unburnable. In each case, we will ask how memory shapes the stories we tell, as well as the formation of our psychic and social identities.
More broadly, English 2100 provides instruction in the fundamentals of writing about literature. Designed with the needs of English majors in mind, the course introduces students to the basics of literary research, interpretation and criticism. A central goal of the course is to familiarize students with a variety of critical and theoretical approaches that are used in the study of literature, as well as with appropriate resources for conducting literary research.