ENGLISH 823 / Fall 2003
Narratives in Contemporary
The fragmented narrative is not a new phenomenon within the history of the novel–-indeed the earliest novels adopted what we might call a fragmented form. Nor are theories of narrative new; however, Narrative Theory as such is still quite new, developing in Europe after World War II. As they shifted from interpretation of what texts "mean" to how they "work," as Jameson puts it, these theorists studied narrative structure in the hope of developing a model that could apply to all novels, and later to all forms of narrative in a multitude of disciplines. Others have developed and problematized those models, exploring narrative structure from a socio-cultural perspective and considering the role of social class and narratives of identity in story-telling structure. Yet others have explore the fragmented novel as a function of postmodernity.
Ramón Saldívar, the creation of fragmented narratives can be
as "a strategy to enable readers to understand their real conditions
of existence in postindustrial twentieth-century
*Available from the professor, not in the bookstore. #Also available on reserve in the library
The Research Component
This course is
designated a "research emphasis" course. This means that as part of
the course, members of the class will explore resources available
through the library and practice using them in ways that will further
their entry into the academic discipline of English and the
professional life of an academic. For this class the research
component will dovetail into the formal paper as follows:
Jody Caldwell will work with course members to identify topics and sources, as will other Library faculty. We will also discuss appropriate topics in class. I will provide lots of information about conference proposals and feedback on your topics along the way, and I urge everyone--especially those who have completed a year or more of coursework--to actually submit the conference proposal. The worst that can happen is that it gets accepted . . .
The Writing Projects
Conference Proposal Due Dates:
The final conference proposal package (the complete annotated bibliography, the conference proposal, and one or more calls for papers/conference descriptions for which it might be appropriate) is due December 16 along with the final paper (see below).
The Final Paper:
Most professional organizations produce annual annotated bibliographies of sources in their field. Several journals also produce annotated bibliographies (including The National Council of Teachers of English and the Modern Language Association) and many scholars keep their own annotated bibliographies within their fields, at least for areas of particular interest. The annotated bibliographies you prepare for this class will help you develop and refine this habit. Final bibliographies will be shared with all class members and will be used as a resource for the final paper.
The Scholarly Community
In order to practice your professional paper-giving skills, two students per week will present position papers on that week’s reading. The goal of these presentations is to BRIEFLY apply the theories we have read and discussed to the novel assigned for that week and raise questions of narrative and related issues (see above). Students reading position papers will deliver the presentation formally, and will then lead class discussion on the issue raised in that position paper. Following the assigned presentations, we will discuss other issues raised in other position papers and the works in general.
participation is your invitation to enter the academic community.
Academics talk to each other at conferences, on listservs and
groups, and through books and articles. Thoughtful class participation
helps to prepare you for full entrance into the academic
community. Academics also share their ideas and texts as they
are in development, and the dialog that follows enriches our work
(and our lives). For this reason, English 823 is a seminar; however,
a seminar is only as strong as its weakest member. If you are
to make this class a partnership in learning you will need to be
prepared for class, you will need to participate thoughtfully, and
you will need to respect the other students in the class.
Grades will be determined based on the conference proposal, the final paper, the annotated bibliography, presentations, and class participation, with the greatest weight placed on the final paper. I will be happy to discuss your progress at any point.
Martin Wallace, Recent Theories of Narrative
Pynchon, The Crying of
Don DeLillo, White Noise.
Pasos, The 42nd Parallel (Book I of
October 14: Draft conference proposal package due
Frederic Jameson, an extract from The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act.
Toni Cade Bambara, The Salteaters.
November 4: Alternate due date for draft conference proposal package
Saldívar, extracts from Chicano Narrative: The Dialectics of
Rolando Hinojosa, This Migrant Earth
Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior
Gerald Vizenor, Narrative Chance: Postmodern Discourse on Native American Indian Literatures;
November 25: Thanksgiving. No class.
December 2: Last class
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
December 16: Final paper and conference proposal package due