English 358: Experimental Fiction

Professor Joseph Conte

Spring 2009

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 Jan 13:       Introduction to experimental fiction.

 Jan 15:       Reflexive fictions and postmodernism.

 Jan 20:       Entropy, (im)probability, and paranoia.  Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49.

 Jan 22:       Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49.

 Jan 27:       Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49.

 Jan 29:       Modern, Postmodern:  Let’s call the whole thing off.  Gilbert Sorrentino, Aberration of Starlight.

 Feb 3:        Sorrentino, Aberration of Starlight.

 Feb 5:        Sorrentino, Aberration of Starlight.

 Feb 10:      Aphasia and off-stage performance.  Don DeLillo, The Body Artist

 Feb 12:      DeLillo, The Body Artist

 Feb 17:      Are you reading Italo Calvino’s new novel, yet?  Italo Calvino, If on a winter’s night a traveler.

First essay due in class, 5-7 pages.

 Feb 19:      Calvino, If on a winter’s night a traveler.

 Feb 24:      Calvino, If on a winter’s night a traveler.

 Feb 26:      Obsessions.  Michel Houellebecq, The Elementary Particles

 Mar 3:        Houellebecq, The Elementary Particles

 Mar 5:        Houellebecq, The Elementary Particles.  

 Mar 10:      Spring Recess

 Mar 12:      Spring Recess

 Mar 17:      Metaphysics of absence.  Paul Auster, Travels in the Scriptorium.

 Mar 19:      Auster, Travels in the Scriptorium.

Second essay due in class, 5-7 pages.

 Mar 24:      Cyberpunk globalization.  William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition.

 Mar 26:      Gibson’s Pattern Recognition.

 Mar 31:      Gibson’s Pattern Recognition.

 Apr 2:        No class:  U. of Denver, Colorado

 Apr 7:        Literary piracy:  Kathy Acker, Rip-Off Red, Girl Detective.

 Apr 9:        Acker, The Burning Bombing of America

 Apr 14:      Cloak and pen.  Harry Mathews, My Life in CIA

 Apr 16:      Mathews, My Life in CIA

                  Critical essay due in class, 6-8 pages.

 Apr 21:      The unspeakable.  David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men.

 Apr 23:      Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men.

Required Texts:

Kathy Acker, Rip-Off Red, Girl Detective and The Burning Bombing of America.  Grove Press.

Paul Auster, Travels in the ScriptoriumPicador.

Italo Calvino, If on a winter’s night a travelerHarvest Books.

Don DeLillo, The Body Artist.  Scribner.

William Gibson, Pattern RecognitionBerkley.

Michel Houellebecq, The Elementary ParticlesVintage.

Harry Mathews, My Life in CIA.  Dalkey Archive.

Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49.  Harper & Row.

Gilbert Sorrentino, Aberration of Starlight.  Dalkey Archive.

David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men.   Back Bay Books.

Course Requirements:

Attendance in class and participation in discussion for English 358 is mandatory; two papers of 5-7 pages and a critical essay of 6-8 pages.

Papers:   Neatly printed copies must be presented in class on the day indicated on the syllabus.  These copies should adhere to the following format:  a cover page with a title for your essay, your name, the course number and title, the date; typed, double-spaced with one-inch margins; all pages numbered; stapled.  The paper should be proofread for grammatical and typographical errors. 

Late policy:  Late assignments will be accepted only by prior arrangement with me.  Failure to seek approval before the due date will result in a penalty of one grade increment per class meeting. 

Plagiarism:  All secondary materials, either from print or online sources, must be properly attributed.  Plagiarism of a paper—either in whole or in part, especially including sources downloaded from the Internet—will result in a failing grade for the paper, or for the course, at the instructor’s discretion.

Attendance:  Noted on a daily basis.  Absence from more than five classes during the course of the semester will result in a final grade deduction, up to and including failure for the course, at the instructor’s discretion.

Grading:  60% for the two papers; and 40% for the critical essay.

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Last revised on Tuesday, January 27, 2009.
Copyright 2009 Joseph M. Conte. All Rights Reserved.