ENGL469B - The Craft of Literature: Creative Form and Theory; The Structure of Fiction: How to Tell a True War Story
0101 - Maud Casey
If stories are a way of making sense of the world, they are also an opportunity to stand in the presence of things that don’t make sense, that cannot be fully understood. In this course, we’ll look closely at the ways in which authors have written about and around the experience of war (defined broadly and unconventionally, the battlefield and beyond). What does fiction offer us in particular, as opposed to journalism or history, when it comes to conveying the experience of war? This question will be central to our investigation. We will read closely in order to better understand the narrative methods authors employ—style, narration, point of view, the secret lives of characters, tense, imagery, indirection, the management of time, landscape. In other words, what formal methods do these authors use in order to create felt experience rather than abstract experience? Readings may include work by Svetlana Alexievich, Isaac Babel, John Keene, Herta Muller, Hilary Plum, Rachel Seiffert, Susan Sontag, Virginia Woolf, and others; also, supplementary critical essays. Weekly writing assignments and a final project.