Reading & Composition

Do poems take up truths? Can a novel be a way of thinking about something? What can you learn—about yourself, about others, about the world—from a film? This course considers the ways that literature, art, and film are not only a part of our creative imaginations but also central sources of insight into what is real and actual. How do fictional and imaginative works touch what is worldbound? How do they help us see, hear, and understand our world?

Reading & Composition

Imagine that you are reading a book and, at some point in the story, you learn that what you are reading is actually the translation of a work written in an ancient language by an author from a faraway land. How would this affect your relation to the text? Would you now consider the story more interesting and valuable? Or would you start suspecting that the translator may have made changes and additions to the story? Would you be worried—or perhaps excited—about the possibility that there may be different versions of the text?

Reading & Composition

The frontier is a tricky place to define: within, yet apart; the same, yet different.

Reading & Composition

Most people easily recognize the standard love plot: girl meets boy, they fall in love, they overcome an obstacle to their love and thereby arrive at their “happily ever after.” By contrast, the majority of stories we will examine in this class deviate from the classic love plot formula to highlight alternative forms of love, such as self-love, contractual love, delusional love, passionate friendship, and even the love shared by monsters. These types of narratives could also be termed “queer” love stories.

Reading & Composition

One way we can think about an island: a territory of the imagination that cuts across linguistic, cultural, and historical boundaries, a fantasy land of conquest and domination, a place of punishment, and the site of new beginnings beyond the known. How many times have you been asked the classic “what to take to a deserted island” question? And then another way to think about islands: as real places, where real lives have met and continue to meet the opportunities and challenges of this particular geography.

Reading & Composition

The short story delights in paradox: at once dependent upon brevity and capaciousness, it promises more than it can ever deliver. Deprived of the great spatial expanse that longer works afford, a short story must begin immediately, must attack the reader rather than simply welcome them in. Similarly, it must in its beginning move inexorably and maliciously toward its ending.

Reading & Composition

In this course we focus on women artists, female roles, female-like creatures, virtual representations, and the disciplinary practices that mediate their rich and extreme performativity. What is it about wild, feral, reckless, irrational, powerful, and fantastic acts by women artists that galvanize our imaginations and drive our responses of deep empathy?

Reading & Composition

Reading & Composition

Do poems take up truths? Can a novel be a way of thinking about something? What can you learn—about yourself, about others, about the world—from a film? This course considers the ways that literature, art, and film are not only a part of our creative imaginations but also central sources of insight into what is real and actual. How do fictional and imaginative works touch what is worldbound? How do they help us see, hear, and understand our world?

Reading & Composition

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