The Craft of Writing
R1A - 001 | CCN: 77803
Instructor: Alexandra Kleeman
From ancient myths of the world’s destruction to cinematic works that envision a post-apocalyptic reality, zealots of all kinds have striven for an understanding of “the end of the world as we know it.” But what tools are available to help us imagine the absence of what is present? Beginning with ancient Sumerian, Greek, and Norse legends as well as writings from contemporary doomsday believers, we will consider the impulse to narrate our own end. Turning to ecological catastrophe, we will read classic texts such as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and John Christopher’s novel The Death of Grass, exploring the ways in which these authors evoke believability through rhetorical and narrative techniques. Ultimately, we will inquire into the possibility of thinking beyond our present moment and, by doing so, altering our fate.
Readings will include texts by Sigmund Freud, Catherine Malabou, Jacques Ranciere, Rachel Carson, Margaret Atwood, Timothy Morton, Roland Barthes, Philip K. Dick, Ben Marcus, and Cormac McCarthy.