This course will consider texts that are engaged in the process of rewriting. Reading across historical periods, language traditions, and literary genres, we’ll interrogate what happens as ideas, forms, identities, and histories are revisited and transformed. How are characters, plots, or genres translated across time and space? Is the act of rewriting one of simple reproduction, or is it one of transformation? What are the political stakes of such acts of revision? How do they trouble our sense of the relationship between the categories of “original” and “copy”? How do authors use such acts of rewriting to represent and reflect on the complexities of identity, memory, and history?
With these literary works as our common terrain, we’ll also engage in our own sustained acts of re-writing over the course of the semester: we’ll devote ourselves to the development of critical reading and analytical writing skills, learning to become more careful readers and writers and to advance increasingly complex interpretive arguments about literary texts. Course requirements include active class participation, reading responses and other short writing assignments, a diagnostic paper, two close reading papers, and first and revised drafts of two analytic papers. Students in this course can expect to read (and reread) carefully and to write (and rewrite) extensively.