Classes

Realism After Postmodernism (junior tutorial)

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2013

Are we “post” the postmodern period? If so, what comes next? This course seeks to answer these questions by, first, examining what postmodernism was and, second, analyzing contemporary American writers who write in the wake of the postmodernist heyday. Many of these writers conceive of themselves as “realist” novelists, but they also recognize that they can no longer writer straightforward realist fiction. Instead, they must take into account the interventions of postmodernism—which include end of originality and the rise of metafiction—as they craft their accounts of contemporary American...

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Minimalists and Maximalists: Returns to Realism in American Fiction (junior tutorial)

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2012

This course juxtaposes two realist modes in recent American fiction: minimalism (exemplified by the short stories of Raymond Carver) and “maximalism,” a term that describes ambitious, encyclopedic novels that attempt to document American life at particular historical moments. Both of these schools of writers, so different in style and scope, have been attacked by critics who sneer at their subject matter or criticize their well-crafted sentences. We’ll engage with these critiques by attending to the techniques these writers use—including the use of detail, the role of dialogue, and the...

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