Rhetoric of Fiction
121 | CCN: 77899
Instructor: Ramona Naddaff
Date / Time: TuTh 1230-2P, 215 DWINELLE
Through a series of novels, short stories, dialogues and essays, this course examines the rhetorical discourse of the unreliable narrator par excellence: the liar. We seek to understand what is at stake for a character, fictional or not, when h/she lies, and how these liars persuade their audience that they are telling the truth. What are the stories liars tell about their identities and actions? How do they convince their victims that they have knowledge of subjects they know nothing about? What are the ethical dilemmas liars cause and create? What types of lies harm and help most? These are but some of the questions we will ask. Liars trouble the distinction between fiction and non-fiction and it is this blurring of boundaries that will be of primary interest to us. Readings include, among others, works by Plato, Diderot, Kant, Ford, Highsmith, Abagnale, and Thompson.