Craft Class: The Very Contemporary
In this course, we will read and discuss fiction written and published in our own century. Topics of particular interest will include technology and the self, 9/11 and the age of the war on terror, religion and fantasies of apocalypse (cultural, environmental, religious, etc.). Attention will be paid to questions of form, technique, and style. We will endeavor to survey our own cultural imaginary and to try and anticipate (or even shape) our eventual periodization—assuming, of course, that there’s anyone left in the future to look back at us. We’ll be reading novels, novellas, and short stories by: Don DeLillo, Dennis Cooper, Darcey Steinke, Cormac McCarthy, Joshua Cohen, Christine Schutt, Tao Lin, Sam Lipsyte, Jim Shepard, Lydia Millet, Barry Hannah, and more. We’ll read chronologically by original publication date, with occasional cheating. Course work will include in-class writing exercises and “book reviews” (500-1,000 word response papers) that will help you organize your thoughts for discussion and develop your critical faculties.