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January 23

Readings: Callistratus, Descriptions (3rd century CE), trans. A. Fairbanks (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1931), pp. 395ff, 419ff; Alain Robbe-Grillet, Jealousy (1957), trans. Richard Howard, (New York: Grove Press, 1959), pp. 7-12 (xeroxes in class).

January 30

Readings: Chretien de Troyes, Yvain/ Le chevalier au lion (12th century):
Michel Beaujour, "Some Paradoxes of Description," Yale French Studies, vol. 61 (1981). 27-59 (JStor).

February 6

Herman Melville, Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life (1846), Preface and Chapters 1-14;
Mieke Bal, Narratology, An Introduction to the Theory of Narrative, pp.19-43 with emphasis on pp. 36-43 (reserve).

February 13

Melville, Typee, Chapters 15-Appendix
M. M. Bahktin, The Dialogic Imagination, pp. 146-166 and 224-236 (reserve).

February 20

Gustave Flaubert, A Sentimental Education (1869), Part 1 and Part 2: Chapters 1-3;
W. T. J. Mitchell, "What is an Image?" in Iconology: Image Text, Ideology, pp. 7-46 (reserve).

February 27

Flaubert, A Sentimental Education, Part 2: Chapters, 4-6 and Part 3
Roland Barthes, "The Reality Effect" in The Rustle of Language (xerox)
Michel Riffaterre, "Descriptive Imagery" in Yale French Studies, vol. 61 (1981), p. 107-125, (JStor).

March 6

Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d'Ubervilles, PHASE 1-3 (1891)
Elaine Scarry, Dreaming by the Book, chapters 2 and 3 (reserve). Also recommended: Elaine Scarry, "On Vivacity: The Difference between Daydreaming and Imagining-Under-Authorial-Instruction" Representations 52 (1995) (JStor)


March 20

Hardy, Tess of the d'Ubervilles, PHASE 4-7
James Krasner, The Edges of Sunlight: Visual Selection in the Novels of Thomas Hardy, The Entangled Eye: Visual Perception and the Representation of Nature in Post-Darwinian Narrative (1992), pp. 73-107 (reserve).

March 27

Emile Zola, The Ladies' Paradise/ Au Bonheur des Dames (serialized publication in France, 1882; first English translation 1883), introduction by Kristin Ross (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992).
William J. Berg, "Vision and Description: Beyond the Impression" in The Visual Novel: Emile Zola and the Art of His Times (University Park: Pennsylvania State UP, 1992) (reserve).

April 3

Zola, The Ladies' Paradise
Rosalind Williams, Dream Worlds, Chapter 3 (reserve). Also recommended: Chapter 6 (reserve).

April 10

Gertrude Stein Three Lives (1909), introduction by Ann Charters (New York: Penguin, 1990).
Stein, "Composition as Explanation" in Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein, Ed. Carl Van Vechten (New York: Vintage 1962, orig. 1945) (online).

April 17

James Joyce, Dubliners (1914), "Araby" and "Dubliners"
Ignatius Loyola, excerpt from The Spiritual Exercises (xerox)
Kant, excerpt from Critique of Judgement (xerox)
Ellen Esrock, The Reader's Eye, Visual Imaging as Reader Response (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1994), pp. 151-205 (reserve).

April 24

Virginia Woolf, The Waves (1931)
Paul Ricoeur, "Narrative Time" in Critical Inquiry, vol. 7, no. 1, 1980 (JStor).


The primary texts for this course are on sale at the bookstore.  I strongly recommend that you buy these editions--this greatly facilitates close reading in conference.  Secondary texts will either be handed out as xeroxes, available on e-reserves or through JStor.  Because in some instances, only one or two copies of a book are available for reserve, make sure that you plan ahead in getting your reading done.

There are three kinds of assignments, which you will write in alternate weeks.  The first is a précis or annotation of the theoretical reading: your goal is to provide the clearest and most succinct account of the theorist's major claims. The second is a single-spaced journal page that will be an informal, but thoughtful and detailed record of your impressions, questions and reflections about the text assigned.  The third is a 4-page paper that will include three elements: a close reading of a descriptive paragraph of your choice; an argument about how this passage is related to the text as a whole; and finally, an account of how your argument is related to one of the theoretical ideas put forward in the secondary reading. The passages from both the text and the theory you have chosen to work with must appear at the head of the paper, single-spaced.  Otherwise the order in which you choose to arrange the required elements of any given paper is up to you. Keep in mind that secondary texts are chosen primarily for their theoretical interest and may not address the primary texts explicitly.  The secondary readings are not intended to explain the primary texts but rather to provoke your own critical and theoretical thinking.  You will need to speculate actively both about how a particular theorist would read the primary text and also about what literary phenomena you have observed that the theorist does not or could not account for.  This is an open invitation to create and articulate literary theory of your own.

Active participation in conference discussions is required.  Hard copy of each assignment is due at the beginning of every conference.  Be prepared to present any assignment orally in conference.  Late assignments are accepted only in case of medical emergency.   Missing conference will put you at risk of failing the course.

Final Exam 
You will perform a dramatic reading or recite from memory a passage of your choosing from any one of the novels read this semester for the conference as a whole.