ENGL789 - Form And Theory In Fiction. Narrative Forms: Varieties Of First-Person Narration

A seminar on the complexity and nuances of first-person narration in which we will investigate the limitations of first-person as well as the opportunities it affords, and its effect relative to other forms of narration.  We will do close readings of fictive narratives that employ a variety of first-person narrators (fragmented, effaced, elegiac, unreliable) in order to consider aspects of voice, sensibility, style, and innovative narrative structures.  We will look at every work on its own terms in order to examine its particular engagement of first-person narration and the effect of that narrative choice.  Reading list may include Monique Truong, Chris Abani, Barbara Comyns, Jean Rhys, William Maxwell, Kathryn Davis, Joan Didion, Shirley Jackson, W.G. Sebald, Teju Cole, Michael Ondaatje, and others.  Assignments:  weekly response papers, a presentation on one of the readings and its author, possible writing exercises, a fictive first-person narrative accompanied by a critical paper.