Brian Richardson
Susq. 4133 Tues 3:00-4:00
(301) 405-3839

ENGLISH 668: Narrative Theory and Current Critical Debates


Sept 3, Narrative: Shlomith Rimmon-Kenan and Judith Roof on Narrative*; Beckett, "Ping"*; Lispector, "The Fifth Story"*

Sept 10, Classical (Structuralist) Narratology: IP: 3-58 JLB: "Death and the Compass" 76-87

Sept 17, Plot, Rhythm, Time: N/T: Crane, Forster, Genette: 105-08, 122-39 JLB: "The Garden of Forking Paths," "The Secret Miracle" Ronen on description* fiction by Aichinger*

Sept 24, Space, Character: Richardson* AD: Susan S. Friedman JLB: "Library of Babel" Chatman on Space* fiction by Robbe-Grillet*

Oct 1, Point of View I: N/T: M. Bal, S. Chatman, D. Cohn: 152-74 JLB: "The Shape of the Sword," "The Immortal" Fludernik on "odd" forms of narration* Beckett, "Not I"*

Oct 8, Point of View II: N/T: Susan S. Lanser: 182-93 AD: Kathy Mezei 66-92 Monika Fludernik on gender and narration* fiction by Acker, Moore*

Oct 15, Language of Narrative; Narrative Frames: N/T: Bakhtin, Barthes 175-83, 203-8 AD: Denise Delorey, 93-108 J. Pearson on framing; David Lodge on defamiliarization, repetition*

Oct 22, Beginnings, Middles, and Endings: IP: 48-58 N/T: Brooks, 306-12 S. Kellman on beginnings, J. H. Miller on middles, D. A. Miller on closure* fiction by Blanchot, Atwood*

Oct 29, Narrative Trajectories, and Erotics: N/T: Blau duPlessis: 175-81, 280-97 AD: Blau duPlessis, Lee, Lanser, 187-214, 238-61 fiction by Winterson*

Nov 5, Metafiction and Parody: JLB: "The Circular Ruins" Beth Boehm on feminist metafiction, L. Hutcheon (2) on "narcissistic narrative" and on parody, M. Cornis-Pope on Self-Referentiality* fiction by John Edgar Wideman*

Nov 12, Intertextuality and Oppositional Discourse N/T: Gates, Deleuze: 273-80, 297-300 AD: Hutcheon, 262-68 JLB, "Pierre Menard," "Kafka and His Precursors" Manfred Pfister and Jay Clayton on intertextuality, Bill Ashcroft et al on postcolonial reading* Writing by Rushdie*

Nov 19, Reading: N/T: Rabinowitz, Prince: 208-42 Jane Marcus on gender, Robert Stepto on African American reading* fiction by Borges*

Dec 3, Realism, Representation, Reference: JLB: "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" Penny Boumelha, Barbara Foley, Thomas Pavel, and Keir Elam on realism, documentary fiction, and possible worlds*

Dec 10, History, Autobiography, Fiction: JLB: "Borges and I" Hayden White on narrative and history, P. Eakin on autobiography*

TEXTS: IP= T. Todorov, Introduction to Poetics N/T= D. Richter, ed., Narrative/Theory AD= K. Mezei, ed., Ambiguous Discourse: Feminist Narratology JLB= J. L. Borges, Labyrinths Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

*= items in xerox packet

Recommended: G. Prince: A Dictionary of Narratology

This course will provide a thorough grounding in the basic concepts of and recent research in narrative theory (broadly defined) so that students will have a good command of the issues and stakes involved in ongoing critical debates. Considerable attention will be paid to recent ideological contributions to narrative theory, especially those by feminists. Each theoretical topic will usually be discussed in conjunction with some ideologically charged issue. Building on your current knowledge, we will try to briefly cover a wide range of foundational and/or currently contentious topics.

Requirements: 1 brief assignment (2-3 pp), 3 short papers (5-7 pp), one brief presentation.

Assignment: Student will apply one of the theories discussed to a section of Woolf's To the Lighthouse or a comparable text. Due: Oct 15

Papers: One research paper will summarize and critique the major positions being advocated on a subject of narrative theory. Due: Oct 29

In a second paper, students will be asked to advance their own position (or adapt a modified version of a favorite theorist's ideas) on a (presumably different) subject of narrative theory. Due: Nov 19

In a final paper, students will apply narrative theory to the analysis and interpretation of one or more texts. Due: Dec 11

Any of these paper assignments may be combined; none may be evaded. No grade of "Incomplete" will be given.

Page created 9/8/98 Bryan Herek and Brian Richardson