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Title: ENGL 385-01: Topics in Advanced Literary Study, Fall 1998
Authors: Boswell, Marshall
Keywords: English, Department of;Syllabus;Text;Curriculun;1998 Fall
Issue Date: 26-Aug-1998
Publisher: Memphis, Tenn. : Rhodes College
Abstract: In 1967, American novelist John Barth published a famous essay entitled “The Literature of Exhaustion” in which he declared that “narrative literature generally, if not the printed word altogether, has by this hour of the world just about shot its bolt.” In short, the novel was dead, as all its numerous conventions had become depleted with over-use. The only task for novelists, he went on to argue, was to write novels about novels. But some twenty years later, Barth reversed himself in a related essay entitled “The Literature of Replenishment.” In that essay, he conceded that perhaps his death-sentence on the novel was a bit premature. In fact, the threat of death had re-energized narrative literature. In this course, we will explore American novels from the last 20 years that correspond to Barth’s notion of a “replenished literature. First, we will examine what inspired the shift from modernist to postmodernist self-reflexivity. Second, we we explore how contemporary novels employ the self-reflexive strategies of Barth’s “literature of exhaustion” while simultaneously returning narrative literature to its primary task, to explore the great themes of human existence. We will supplement our readings of representative works with essays about these novels.
Description: This syllabus was submitted to the Office of Academic affairs by the course instructor.
Appears in Collections:Course Syllabi

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