"Sense and Sensibility
What does 'having a sensibility', literary or otherwise, mean? Is it something one acquires, something innate, or something else again? We're going to read a selection of very good 20th century novels (and one book of poems) concentrating on whatever is most particular to them, in the hope that this might help us understand whatever is most particular to us. The reading list is long* and heterogeneous in the hope of encouraging sympathy for a broad range of literary sensibilities regardless of what our own natural inclinations may be. Students will give short presentations, and at the end of the course will write a piece of fiction, or a piece of literary criticism, of at least five pages.
The course will be punctuated by secondary readings of literary criticism and philosophy.
* Most of the novels are short.
Among the books we will read:
A Room With a View - E.M. Forster
The Complete Short Stories - Franz Kafka
Pnin - Vladimir Nabokov
Frost - Thomas Bernhard
The Book of Daniel - EL Doctorow
Pastoralia - George Saunders
Remainder - Tom McCarthy
Brief Interviews With Hideous Men - David Foster Wallace
The Rings of Saturn - W.G. Sebald
The Atrocity Exhibition - JG Ballard
Selected readings from - George Orwell
My Loose Thread - Dennis CooperEleven Kinds of Loneliness - Richard Yates"
Crash - J.G. Ballard
An Experiment in Love - Hilary Mantel
Modern Criticism and Theory: A Reader - David Lodge
The Screwtape Letters - C.S. Lewis
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark
The Loser - Thomas Bernhard
Reader's Block - David Markson
The Quiet American - Graham Greene