/ Graduate Catalogue / Writing / 2012-2013

Reading for Writers

This is a course from a previous year. View the current courses

To become a better writer, by far the most useful and interesting thing that you can do is to become a better reader. (That is the way good writers have always learned how to write.) In this course, we will explore a range of great texts—from the ranks of fiction, drama, poetry and film—with the aim of understanding how these great texts work and why they succeed as well as they do. As you actually retrace closely the footsteps of the literary imagination, you will widen and deepen your own work—in any genre. Our informal class discussions will be oriented toward the project of expanding your powers and acquiring new techniques. Texts will include: Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse; Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory; Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day; James Joyce, “A Little Cloud,” from Dubliners; G. B. Shaw’s drama, Saint Joan; Samuel Beckett’s one-act play, Krapp's Last Tape; the Epstein Brothers and Howard Koch, screenplay for Casablanca. Poetry may include poems by Rainer Maria Rilke, Walt Whitman, Stanley Kunitz, D. H. Lawrence. Films may include The Sting, The Fallen Idol, Babette's Feast, and The Lives of Others. There will be two short class papers (written at home on a topic related to class work). Conference topics and writing will be individually arranged.