English 372: University Honors
Postmodern Fiction

Professor Joseph Conte

Spring 2006

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Jan 17:       Introduction:  Postmodern Fiction

Jan 19:       Critical Theory and Postmodern Fiction.

Jan 24:       Incredulity toward metanarratives.  Jean-François Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition.  Foreword, Introduction, and sections 1-7 (vii-27).

Jan 26:       Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition.  Sections 8-14 (27-67).

Jan 31:       Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition.  “Answering the Question:  What Is Postmodernism?” (71-82).

Feb 2:        No Class:  Conference

Feb 7:        Brave new world.  Samuel R. Delany, Trouble on Triton

Feb 9:        Delany, Trouble on Triton.  

Feb 14:      Delany, Trouble on Triton

Feb 16:      Media play.  Don DeLillo, Mao II

Feb 21:      DeLillo, Mao II

Feb 23:      Don DeLillo, Mao II

Feb 28:      The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism.  Fredric Jameson, The Cultural Turn.  Foreword, “Postmodernism and Consumer Society,” “Theories of the Postmodern,” “Marxism and Postmodernism” (xi-49).

First essay due in class, 5-7 pages.

Mar 2:        Jameson, The Cultural Turn.  “Antinomies of Postmodernity,” “End of Art or End of History,” “Transformations of the Image” (50-135).

Mar 7:        Shot heard ’round the world. Don DeLillo, Underworld

Mar 9:        DeLillo, Underworld

Mar 14:      Spring Recess

Mar 16:      Spring Recess

Mar 21:      DeLillo, Underworld

Mar 23:      DeLillo, Underworld

Mar 28:      One woman’s tale.  Kathy Acker, Don Quixote

Mar 30:      Acker, Don Quixote.

Apr 4:        Acker, Don Quixote.

Second essay due in class, 5-7 pages.

Apr 6:        Literary piracy:  Kathy Acker, Pussy, King of the Pirates

Apr 11:      Acker, Pussy, King of the Pirates

Apr 13:      Acker, Pussy, King of the Pirates

Apr 18:      Graphic novel, unspeakable history.  Art Spiegelman, Maus.

Apr 20:      Spiegelman, Maus.

Apr 25:      Spiegelman, Maus.

Apr 27:      Conclusions and evaluations.

Final critical essay, 8-10 pages.

Required Texts:

Kathy Acker, Don Quixote.  Grove/Atlantic.
Kathy Acker, Pussy, King of the Pirates.  Grove/Atlantic.
Samuel R. Delany, Trouble on Triton.  Wesleyan UP.
Don DeLillo, Mao II.  Penguin.
Don DeLillo, Underworld. Simon & Schuster.
Fredric Jameson, The Cultural Turn.  Verso.
Jean-François Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition.  U. Minnesota P.
Art Spiegelman, Maus a Survivors Tale: My Father Bleeds History.  Pantheon.

All texts for the course can be found at Talking Leaves Bookstore, 3158 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14214; (716) 837-8554. 

Course Requirements:

Attendance in class and participation in discussion for English 372 is mandatory; two 5-7 page papers, and a longer critical essay of 8-10 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 digital sources, must be properly attributed. Plagiarism of a paper-either in whole or in part-will result in an immediate failure for the assignment and possible failure for the course, at the instructor's discretion.

Attendance: Noted on a daily basis. Absence from more than six 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. Students should be prepared to discuss the readings at every class. Please turn off pagers and cellular telephones before entering the classroom.

Grading: 50% for the two papers; 40% for the final research paper; and 10% for attendance and participation in class discussion.

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Last revised on Tuesday, January 17, 2006.
Copyright © 2006 Joseph M. Conte. All Rights Reserved.