This course is designed to develop your composition skills by writing about literature. We’ll practice writing techniques typically associated with literature, including close reading, analysis, and evaluation, as well as developing research skills. You’ll learn strategies for incorporating other authors’ words and ideas into your own writing and making arguments about and in response to literature and other texts. While the writing and reading you do in this class will focus specifically on literature and film, the critical reading and rhetorical writing skills you develop will benefit you beyond this course.
We will focus our reading and discussions on texts that use strangeness as artistic and rhetorical strategies. How do writers use the unfamiliar (monsters, aliens, robots, fantasy lands, etc) to examine ethical, philosophical and social problems with which we are familiar? Why would a writer choose to make strange something that is commonplace or well-known? And if we agree with Lord Byron’s oft-quoted lines—that truth is stranger than fiction—what does that suggest about strange tales and stranger characters? Or about the reactions to strangeness, both from characters as well as our own reactions? As we consider these and other questions, we will view films and read poems, short stories, and novels across several genres, including science fiction, fantasy, and others. We will also examine the work of various scholars, critics and theorists to help us develop ways of approaching these strange tales, and to help us think about and participate in the wider scholarly and social conversations regarding this topic.