Fall 2014
Tuesday, 6:10-9:00 PM, Library 203
Nathalia King
CC305, ext. 7697 or e-mail

This course will study the relations between description and narration in the novel through the perspectives of epistemology and narratology. We will explore how literary description is constituted, the variety of purposes it has, and how those purposes might sustain, diverge from or complicate a narrative's project as a whole. Our inquiry will be guided by three fundamental questions.  To what extent can fiction narrate without describing or describe without narrating?  In what ways might one usefully catalog the relations between description's special interests in specific moments, landscapes, objects, characters and the overarching teleologies of plot?  How does the relation between description and narration illuminate a particular novel's perception of material culture, its place in a literary tradition, or its role as a carrier of ideology?  For purposes of rudimentary historical survey, the course opens with bookend texts, one from the ancient, one from the contemporary, and one from the medieval period.  For purposes of closer study, we will spend most of the semester reading naturalist, realist, and modernist fiction.