Comparative Literature 135 Professor Karen Elizabeth Bishop 195:135:03
Spring 2013 T/Th 1.10-2.30
Rutgers University HH-A5 CAC
A book ought to be an icepick to break up the frozen sea within us.
– Franz Kafka
This introductory comparative literature course looks at the form, function and history of short fiction. We’ll consider how the novella, the short story, and flash fiction work with an eye to identifying the literary devices and narrative structures that make for good storytelling in a short amount of space. In addition to investigating how some of the major authors of Western literature construct their short fiction, we’ll ask what short narrative achieves that longer forms do not and what kind of fictional worlds these condensed genres give us access to. We will situate the works we read within their corresponding historical moments and literary traditions, so that students will leave the class able to recognize the fundamental components of fiction and analyze how they work, as well as knowledgeable in the preoccupations and cultural contexts that shape the history of Western literature from Romanticism to Postmodernism.
Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilyich (Russia; 1886)
Thomas Mann, Death in Venice (Germany; 1912)
Georges Perec, Things: A Story of the Sixties (France; 1965)