Muriel Spark and the Vanishing Novel (LIT4534.01)

Benjamin Anastas

Muriel Spark, beginning in the late 1950s, produced a string of fiercely ambitious and savagely witty novels that harnessed the experimental power of the French nouveau roman and skewered the pieties of life in the postwar period of the 20th century. The problem of knowing; the relationship of art to life; the godlike power of authorship; the criminal scheming of flesh-driven seekers in a fallen world–Muriel Spark’s Catholicism (she converted after a religious experience while taking Benzedrine) lent her work its fierce detachment and the “devoutly starved” quality (James Wood) that makes her such a beguiling metafictionist, and a precursor to later disruptors of the British novel from Jeanette Winterson to Rachel Cusk.

Learning Outcomes:
Students in this course will develop their own capacities to do the following:
--Perform close readings of both primary and scholarly texts and subject them to a sophisticated analysis.
-- Write clearly and persuasively about the texts they encounter and the ideas that animate them.
--Develop and communicate their own ideas as literary citizens in class discussion, in both critical and creative writing assignments, and in oral presentations.
--Conduct independent and collaborative research projects using library materials, online databases, and other sources.

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: Interested students should email a piece of critical or creative writing (5 pp. or more) to by May 6, 2021. Students admitted to class will be notified by email on May 11, 2021.
Corequisites: All students in 4000-level Literature classes are required to attend Wednesday evening events, including Poetry at Bennington, unless there is a legitimate conflict.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
W 2:10PM - 5:50PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 15
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: All courses , Fully In-Person , Literature
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