ENG 649: American Literature and the Two Cultures Fall 2011 Course Policies
Instructor: Jake Jakaitis
Meeting Time: 6:15 to 9:00 Wednesdays
Office: Root A-266
Classroom: Root A-110
Office Hours: 3:00 to 5:00 M & by appointment
Office Telephone: 812-237-3160
We will begin by revisiting the "Two Cultures" debate between C.P. Snow and F.R. Leavis through discussion of Snow's 1959 lecture, "The Two Cultures," and Leavis's 1962 reply, "Two Cultures? The Significance of C.P. Snow." While these short pieces are the only assigned reading in the debate, students are encouraged to read the extended interaction between Snow and Leavis, which will be placed on reserve in our library. The conflict between the sciences and the humanities detailed in this debate will serve as a framework for our investigation of the relation between science and literature, beginning with the sometimes-overlooked influence of developing science on the works of Hawthorne and Poe. We will move through Lovecraft, both a few of his works and especially his essay on the supernatural in literature, to create a foundation for investigating the relation of both the gothic and science to mainstream and popular contemporary American literature.
Delany, Samuel. Trouble on Triton: An Ambiguous Heterotopia. Wesleyan UP. ISBN 0-8195-6298-X
Delillo, Don. Ratner's Star. Knopf Doubleday. ISBN 0-679-722920
Dick, Philip K. Valis. Vintage. ISBN 9780679734468
Gibson, William. Neuromancer. Penguin. ISBN 0-441-56959-5
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. House of the Seven Gables. Penguin. ISBN 0-451-53162-0
Le Guin, Ursula. The Left Hand of Darkness. Penguin. ISBN 0-441-00731-7
Lovecraft, H.P. At the Mountains of Madness. Random House. ISBN 0-8129-7441-7
Poe, Edgar, Allan. Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. Penguin. ISBN 0-14-043748-7
Russell, Mary Doria. The Sparrow. Random House. ISBN 0-449-91255-8
Course Requirements and Policies:
Attendance and Participation [20%]: Attendance and participation are crucial to success in a graduate seminar. While an occasional absence is sometimes necessary, missed work because of an excused absence must be completed either through conversation with me in conference or through submission of a brief response paper demonstrating knowledge of the assigned readings. For each class session, please prepare a series of discussion questions. These questions should reflect your sincere engagement with the assigned material while referencing specific passages that evidence points of interest to you or that identify thematic concerns, historical or cultural material, or imagery requiring discussion or explication. These questions function both to demonstrate your engagement with the material and to provoke discussion. In the unlikely event that discussion lags during our meetings, I will ask individuals to present and discuss their prepared questions.
Two Short Essays [40%]: Short 5-7 page papers (1500 word minimum) will be due in the 6th and 11th weeks of classes. This is not intended to be a research project. Instead, present a close reading of a single work or of a few short pieces. You might include some biographical or historical information, or you might use passages found in interviews as opportunities to initiate your close reading. However, do not turn this short writing assignment into an extended research project. The aim of the short paper is to explore a theme, formal concern, question, or issue relevant to a particular author's work. These may not be drafts preparatory to the final paper. Additional Instructions for the First Short Essay.
Final Essay [40%]: This 16-20 page paper [4800 word minimum] will be a researched examination of a particular author's work. This must be a different author than the ones covered in the short papers. Your essay should involve a well-researched address to a single author studied in the course. While your project may be an examination of a single work, it should situate that work both within the author's larger body of work and within broader cultural or literary contexts. For example, you might address the relation of a particular work and author to formal experimentation, to the relation of the humanities to the sciences [the issues raised by two cultures debate, for example], or to recurring themes or issues in the author's developing body of work. Most of you have written seminar papers before. The principal idea is to develop a preliminary plan, meet with me to discuss it [preferably with a brief written explanation], and get my approval for your final project. Papers will be typed, double-spaced according to MLA style, using Times New Roman 12 font, and 1" margins on all 4 sides of the page. Submissions with larger or odd font styles or those with margins wider than 1" will not be accepted.
ENG 649: American Literature and the Two Cultures Syllabus Fall 2011
Reading assignments in the professor's pack are identified by the abbreviation: PP. The page numbers listed for these assignments reflect the pagination of the original source to provide an idea of the actual length of the reading assignment. The years in brackets following the publication dates of the assigned texts identify original years of publication.
WEEK ONE: AUGUST 24
COURSE INTRODUCTION AND THE TWO CULTURES DEBATE
Snow, C.P. "The Two Cultures." LEONARDO. 23.2/3 (1990): 169-173. Print
Leavis, F.R. "Two Cultures? The Significance of C.P. Snow." from Two Cultures? The Significance of C.P. Snow. New York: Pantheon, 1963. 27-50. Print.
WEEK TWO: AUGUST 31
READING HAWTHORNE THROUGH LOVECRAFT
Lovecraft, H.P. "Supernatural Horror in Literature." in At the Mountains of Madness. New York: The Modern Library, 2005. 105-173. [Also available on-line at http://www.hplovecraft.com/writings/texts/essays/shil.asp]
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The House of the Seven Gables. New York: Signet, 2010 : Introduction [vii-xvi] and Chapters 1-10 [5-142].
A Few Discussion Questions for Lovecraft and Hawthorne
WEEK THREE: SEPTEMBER 7
GOTHIC HAWTHORNE AND THE SCIENTIFIC IMAGINATION
Finish The House of the Seven Gables: Chapters 11-21 [143-298]
Sketches and Short Fiction by Hawthorne: "Fire Worship," "Earth's Holocaust," and "Ethan Brand" at http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/hawthorne-series-science-progress-and-human-nature. Read them in the listed order; Diana Schaub's essay, "From Hearth-Fires to Hell-Fires" is available at the same site.
Supplemental Investigation: Hawthorne's Dr. Grimshawe's Secret, a posthumously published incomplete science fiction novel available on-line: http://www.ibiblio.org/eldritch/nh/ehd.html If you decide to investigate this novel, be sure to use the one edited by Edward H. Davidson found at the above link. The version produced by Hawthorne's son, Julian also is available on-line, but it is an inferior presentation.
WEEK FOUR: SEPTEMBER 14
THE SCIENCE FICTION OF EDGAR ALLAN POE
Selected short fiction by Poe, available on-line at the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore: http://www.eapoe.org/: "The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall," "The Balloon Hoax," and "Von Kempelen and His Discovery."
Poe, Edgar Allan. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. New York: Penguin, 1999 . 1-217.
WEEK FIVE: SEPTEMBER 21
THE HORROR, THE HORROR
Lovecraft, H.P. At the Mountains of Madness. New York: The Modern Library, 2005 . 3-102. If you have the print edition, read China Miéville's Introduction. ii-xxiv.
Browse Lovecraft's Cthulhu related stories:
From Lovecraft Unbound: "In the Black Mill" by Michael Chabon [239-264] & "Commencement" by Joyce Carol Oates [277-302].
WEEK SIX: SEPTEMBER 28
GENDERED SCIENTIFIC IMAGINATION
"The Women Men Don't See" by James Tiptree [176-217]; "When It Changed" by Joanna Russ [227-239]; "Algorithms for Love" by Ken Liu [182-198]; & "Art of War" by Nancy Kress [234-254]
Some Issues to Consider for Class Discussion
WEEK SEVEN: OCTOBER 5
THE GENDERED IMAGINATION: URSULA K. LE GUIN
Le Guin, Ursula K. The Left Hand of Darkness. New York: Ace Books, 2000 . [x-xvi & 1-300.] Be sure to read the Introduction for Le Guin's take on the relation of science fiction to prediction, as well as for her motives in writing fiction.
Issues to Consider While ReadingThe Left Hand of Darkness
Characters in the Novel
WEEK EIGHT: OCTOBER 12
THE GENDERED IMAGINATION: SAMUEL DELANY
Delany, Samuel. Trouble on Triton: An Ambiguous Heterotopia. Wesleyan UP, 1996 . An interview with Delany.
WEEK NINE: OCTOBER 19
CYBERPUNK ON A GREEN MANUAL TYPEWRITER
Gibson, William. Neuromancer. New York: Ace Books, 1986 . 3-271. Gibson on H.G. Wells and SF
WEEK TEN: OCTOBER 26
Selected short cyberpunk and post-cyberpunk fiction:
"Preface" to Mirrorshades by Bruce Sterling: ix-xvi.Mirrorshades Postmodern Archive. Sterling's Beyond the Beyond Blog
"Mozart in Mirrorshades" by Bruce Sterling and Lewis Shiner: 223-239
"The Gernsback Continuum" by William Gibson: 1-11
"Freezone" by John Shirley: 139-177. Check out Shirley's music available at this website.
"Snake Eyes" by Tom Maddox: 12-33. Through links, Maddox provides his complete novel, Halo. Check out his statement on freedom of access to print when you click the Halo link.
"Rock On" by Pat Cadigan: 34-42.
Optional Additional Reading:
"The Neuromantics" by Norman Spinrad
Readings in the South Atlantic Quarterly Special Issue on Cyberpunk: 92.4 Fall 1993
WEEK ELEVEN: NOVEMBER 2
VAST ACTIVE LIVING INFORMATION
Dick, Philip K. Valis. New York: Vintage, 1991 . [9-228: Be sure to experience the appendix, 229-241; it contains excerpts from Dick's exegesis.]
WEEK TWELVE: NOVEMBER 9
DELILLO'S COMIC TERROR AND THE SCIENTIFIC IMAGINATION
DeLillo, Don. Ratner's Star. New York: Vintage, 1989 . Adventures: Field Experiment Number One, 3-276.The Don DeLillo Society
WEEK THIRTEEN: NOVEMBER 16
DeLillo, Don. Ratner's Star. New York: Vintage, 1989 . Reflections: Logicon Project Minus One , 279-438.
WEEK FOURTEEN: NOVEMBER 23
THANKSGIVING BREAK: NO CLASS
WEEK FIFTEEN: NOVEMBER 30
A CRISIS OF CONSCIENCE
Russell, Mary Doria. The Sparrow. New York: Ballantine Books, 2008 . 4-431.
WEEK SIXTEEN: DECEMBER 7
SPIRITUAL CRISES AND THE SCIENTIFIC IMAGINATION
Selected short fiction.
WEEK SEVENTEEN: DECEMBER 14
FINAL EXAMINATIONS FOR UNDERGRADUATES: SEMINAR PAPER DUE