The challenge in this class will be to read and then to write critically about great literature with an appreciation of its aims and ambitions, and with earned opinions regarding the writers’ intentions. (In this effort you’ll be reading criticism of the works that will inform but not dictate your own carefully considered views.) All that while also retaining the immediate pleasure of immersing yourselves in the universe of a compelling story. Both these engagements — the delight we take in the tale and the satisfactions we get from delving for its meanings — are necessary if we’re to take away all we can from that which we read. We will likely read — and re-read — Chekhov’s The Lady with the Lap Dog, Hemingway’s Big Two-Hearted River, Carver’s Where I’m Calling From, Munro’s Fits, and Denis Johnson’s The Largesse of the Sea Maiden, stories which beckon us to pay closer than close attention to both the worlds presented on the page and their suggested worlds beyond.
This course will be offered the first seven weeks of term.