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interesting things that don't really fit anywhere else


We are going to read and converse about nine novels (some of which are kind of long) dating from the 1930s-1970s. They're books that are arguably good and/or important but are not, in the main, read or talked about that much as of 2003. At the least, then, English 170R affords a chance to read some stuff you're not apt to get in other Lit classes. It would also be good to talk this term about the dynamics of the Lit canon and about why some important books get taught a lot in English classes and others do not - which will, of course, entail our considering what modifiers like "important," "good," and "influential" mean w/r/t modern fiction. We can approach the books from a variety of different critical, theoretical, and ideological perspectives, too, depending on students' backgrounds and interests. In essence, we can talk about whatever you wish to - provided that we do it cogently and well.
REQUIRED TEXTS: All but a couple of the following are available in paperback at the Huntley Bookstore:
(1) Renata Adler, Speedboat
(2) James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room
(3) Djuna Barnes, Nightwood
(4) Richard Brautigan, Trout Fishing in America... In Watermelon Sugar
(5) Joan Didion, Play It As It Lays
(6) Paula Fox, Desperate Characters
(7) Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook
(8) Walker Percy, The Moviegoer
(9) Christina Stead, The Man Who Loved Children