ENGL*3940 (03) Seminar: Form, Genre, & Literary Value (ENGL*3940)
Code and section: ENGL*3940*03
Term: Winter 2017
Instructor: J.R. (Tim) Struthers
ENGL*3940 has been designated a writing- and presentation-intensive course, and for each section of this core English seminar the choices of focus and texts and approach are made by the particular instructor. In my view, such a course provides a notable opportunity for seminar members and their instructor to grow both as individuals and as a collectivity, to intensify and to broaden our perspectives. The style of this course and the nature of the particular topic chosen for this section of the course offer a chance to develop and possibly radically alter our understanding of traditionally distinct, now often merging art forms, of their values to ourselves and to others. As one very important facet of this objective, members of this seminar should consider themselves not simply invited but encouraged to reflect on and to explore the potential that the three different elements “Autobiography; Ficticity; Allegory” comprising the topic of this seminar contain for enhancing our thinking and writing in ways that give more scope to the individual imagination.
This course will aim to develop an appreciation for and an enjoyment of the genres of the short story, the novella, and the story sequence or story cycle as practised by contemporary Canadian/American/world writer Clark Blaise (1940- ) and two of his important precursors, Canadian/European/world writer Mavis Gallant (1922-2014) and Irish/world writer James Joyce (1882-1941), in the context of theoretical studies of autobiography, the short story, and allegory. Alternatively, we could say that what we will be exploring is what it means to read a short story or novella or story sequence or story cycle autobiographically, fictively, and allegorically. Required theoretical reading for the course include: Linda Anderson’s Autobiography (2nd ed.), Charles E. May’s The Short Story: The Reality of Artifice, and Jeremy Tambling’s Allegory.
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