We'll examine the relations of maximalism and minimalism, systems and distributions, the encyclopedic work and the coterie novel. In organizing this course, I've decided to devote two-week sessions to four maximalist novels: Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, John Barth's Letters, Georges Perec's Life: A User's Manual, and Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum.
We'll also read several shorter works, interspersed among the world-makers, that present the sparking and fritzing of the cross-wired information age: William Gibson's Neuromancer, Don DeLillo's White Noise, Donald Barthelme's Snow White, Kathy Acker's My Mother, Demonology, and Robert Coover's The Universal Baseball Association.
Needless to say, a good dose of critical methodology and theorizing
from the likes of N. Katherine Hayles, F. Lyotard, David Porush,
Tom LeClair, and Brian McHale among others will be administered.