/ Graduate Catalogue / Writing / 2013-2014

Disrupting Genre

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In this graduate craft class, we will explore emerging literary forms that disrupt our concepts of what fiction should be through works that cross between and infuriate genre—still daring to call themselves novels, while incorporating memoir, criticism, biography, scholarship, theory, and poetics. We will be reading many examples of the nonfiction novel: the contemporary examples inspired by reality TV and the Internet, as well as their more (perhaps) political predecessors that include new narrative and associated works with their stewing in gossip, anecdote, literature, and theory. We will also be reading one work of genre-bending criticism. While reading and talking about how to discuss these works, we will examine ways in which these texts experiment not only with genre but also with narrative, structure, characterization, and plot. I will assign short, instigating exercises each week, where we will play with anecdote and aphorism and write real lives as fiction, and vice versa, culminating in a disruptive revision. Is the novel as we know it dead? Let’s celebrate, gleefully, in its wake. The reading list includes: Speedboat by Renata Adler, I Love Dick by Chris Kraus, Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling With D. H. Lawrence by Geoff Dyer, To After That (Toaf) by Renee Gladman, Great Expectations by Kathy Acker, Bluets by Maggie Nelson, I am Trying to Reach You by Barbara Browning, How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti, Taipei by Tao Lin, Don't Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine, Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald, Elizabeth Costello by J. M. Coetzee, and Reality HungerA Manifesto by David Shields.