Reading and Writing Fiction: Space and Place (LIT4536.01)

Paul La Farge

Some writers invent houses; some invent cites; others invent worlds. What do these different kinds of space express? In this class, we’ll think about the way fiction writers make use of real and imagined geographies, and how the representation of space constructs a social order: upstairs vs. downstairs, wilderness vs. civilization, oriented vs. disoriented. How, in narrative terms, does the center differ from the margins? How does one represent a privileged space? A queer space? A haunted space? A safe space (safe for whom)? Readings will include works by Mary Rowlandson, Henry James, Guy Davenport, Lewis Carroll, Gaston Bachelard, Rebecca Solnit, Lauret Savoy, Gurney Norman, China Miéville, Carolyn Finney, and Colson Whitehead.


Learning Outcomes:
This class will (hopefully) help you to

-- read diverse works of fiction and nonfiction in which space and/or place play an important role;
-- think about the meanings that might inhere to certain kinds of spaces and places;
-- think analytically about the ways in which representations of space and place may be used to communicate meaning;
-- practice techniques for writing about space and place.



Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: Interested students are requested to email a writing sample of about 4-5 pages to paullafarge@bennington.edu. The sample may be fiction, nonfiction, or poetry; I'm more interested in how you use language than in what you already know. All students may apply for multiple 4000-level Reading and Writing Courses in the same term, but, once accepted, may only enroll in one 4000-level Reading and Writing course per term.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
M/Th 10:00AM - 11:50AM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 15
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: All courses , Literature , Fully In-Person
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