MWF 3-4 263 Dwinelle Instructor: CFS Creasy
This course will examine the problematic interactions between experience, action, and knowledge. Focusing primarily on the second half of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century, we will read mostly narrative literary works that address a problem of knowledge and self-knowledge that seems to hinge, paradoxically, on a moment of error. To the casual observer, these works might be taken to be so many detective stories. Nothing is less certain. Thus, we will flirt mercilessly with that generic convention, as well as the not unrelated convention of the tragic, but we will refuse to allow ourselves to mistake either for truth, since it is the truth we seek. The relationship between literature and other discourses presumably concerned with truth (e.g. philosophy and something like science) also will be at stake, but above all we will address the ways in which these texts thematize and formalize problems of the relationship between knowledge, self-knowledge, action, and error—how they are about these problems, and how they create these problems for us as we confront them.
Building on what you have already learned in the first of the Reading and Composition courses, this second course will use the questions that this material poses of us, as well as those we pose of it, to develop your critical reflection as well as your writing and research skills that will culminate in a larger research paper at the end of the semester. Our attention will be devoted in large part to approaching a research paper as a series of cumulative but individually small and manageable pieces. Supplementing the successively longer and successively more revised essays, these intermediate steps will include things like peer editing, an annotated bibliography, and a draft outline.