CLIT2095: World, Text, and Critic

Fall 2021 | 6 credits | Dr.  Beth HARPER

We are the stories we tell ourselves. Where do stories come from? How are they constructed at different times in different places? How do we as critics interrogate a text and immerse ourselves in the world it creates? How do words make worlds? This course grapples with these questions as it investigates how narrative- in prose, film, poetry and graphics- spins its spellbinding fictions. This course is an intensive study of the techniques, strategies, expectations, and desires that underlie the workings of narrative, understood as a fundamental cultural practice. We read texts from across the globe: from the pre-modern world to Asian cinema, and from fictions of the Americas to those of Europe and South and East Asia. Focusing on works that reflect on their own crafting, that thematize narration itself and its relation to both personal identity and global history, we explore both stories of the self and narratives of the nation.