127: Novel, Society & Politics
Instructor(s) Amy JamgochianSpring 2013
Instructor(s) Amy Jamgochian
What is the purpose of fiction?
Does it have any political or ethical impact?
Again and again, criticism of the novel has made claims about how novels affect the world or the people who read them.
And over a century of narrative theory has indeed argued that novels have profound effects on politics and culture through the affects they produce in their readers. In this course we will examine such theories, specifically asking how they might pertain to the US and American readers. Viewing the novel and novel reading from a rhetorical angle, students in this course will read one novel, David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, very slowly, examining it alongside theoretical texts that make different claims about the workings of novels on their readers.
Required texts: David Foster Wallace, infinite Jest
(New York: Back Bay Books [Little, Brown & Co.], 1996); course reader