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Fall 2017 Seminar Topic- Poetics of Relation: August Wilson

ENG 415A (FALL 2017)

Poetics of Relation: August Wilson


Poetics of Relation is the rubric for a seminar in which students analyze the ways in which the discursive forms - novels, plays, essays, and poetry - of one or two major writers relate to specific cultures, landscapes, political and historical moments.  In its three previous iterations students have examined such intersections in the work of two Nobel Laureates Derek Walcott and Wole Soyinka; Vidia Naipaul and Derek Walcott, and in novels and essays by Toni Morrison and Alice Walker.  In fall 2017, the focus will be on August Wilson, one of America's foremost playwrights.  In addition to close readings, substantive discussions, oral presentations, and two major essays, seminar participants will contribute to the Poetics of Relation website on the Davidson college website.

Satisfies the Diversity requirement for the English major.
Satisfies a requirement in Africana Studies and Global Literary Theory.
Satisfies the cultural diversity requirement.


ENG 415B (SPRING 2017)

415 B Style


From Samuel Richardson's titular heroine Pamela obsessing about her wardrobe (1740), to the conspicuous consumption of Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie (1900), and from the discussion of Hero's sartorial choices in Much Ado About Nothing (1598) to the iconic Holly Golightly of Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958), there is a clear literary history of fashion. This course will consider both fictional and theoretical engagements with fashion alongside the works of authors such as Vladimir Nabokov and Henry James, whose prose reveals the fingerprint specificity of their writing styles. Working from Roland Barthes's theory in The Fashion System to Cecil Beaton's diaries and Joseph Roach's study of the "It" factor ("the easily perceived but hard-to-define quality possessed by abnormally interesting people"), this transcultural and transhistorical course will investigate style as both form and content. Whether we are looking at the fashion and literary styles of the roaring twenties in Fitzgerald's works or the punk subcultures of the UK in the 1980s, we will question how literary innovation and fashion interpenetrate.

Counts as an Innovation course for the English major.
Satisfies the Innovation requirement.