General English IV-Readings in English- Language Fiction
In this class, we read some of the “great works” in the tradition of English-language fiction. Given that the point of my endeavor is to equip students with an experience of literary texts, not knowledge of literary history, the class is organized around one full-length work, with a few short stories and excerpts as “garnish” or contextual connection. In our interpretive progress, we handle time-honored questions in the categories of “why fiction?” “is there a prospect to theorize the structure of narrative discourses in the west?” “what has mimesis got to do with narrative fiction?” “does fiction address what David Hume used to distinguish in terms of the ‘ought’ and ‘is?’” etc. At the same time, we also engage more close-to-home concerns for contemporary readers, such as “fiction between parallel universes,” or “the fictive and virtual.” I do not harbor ambition that when students walk away from the class, they all become seasoned admirers of English literature, but anticipate that they would have somehow enjoyed these authors, i.e., their language, pathos and imagination, and the conversations that have circulated among us over the semester.