ENGL 379 Fall 2013 Promiscuity and the Novel

The novel is frequently described in terms of the "marriage plot," but the form might better be seen as exploring multiple emotional and sexual partnerships. This course will examine fiction where serial entanglements are the norm in order to ask why the novel has been so interested in faithlessness. We'll cover fiction from the eighteenth to the twentieth century, in several genres: the sentimental novel, nineteenth-century realism, sci-fi, Latin American urban literature, and queer fiction. Questions to be explored: the historical mutations in the meanings and narrative function of promiscuity; its association with sexual minorities, women, working-class people and aristocrats; the relations between eroticism and commerce. Possible authors to be studied: Daniel Defoe, Laurence Sterne, Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, Jane Austen, Émile Zola, James Baldwin, Ursula K. LeGuin, Samuel Delany, Roberto Bolaño.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: students will write one mid-term paper (5-6 pages) and one longer research paper (8-10 pages)
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Prerequisites: a 100-level ENGL course, or a score of 5 on the AP English Literature exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam
Enrollment Preference: ENGL majors
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Divisional Attributes: Division I
Other Attributes: ENGL Literary Histories B
Enrollment Limit: 20
Expected Enrollment: 20
Class Number: 1842
ENGL379-01(F) SEM Promiscuity and the Novel Division 1: Languages and the Arts David Kurnick
TR 09:55 AM-11:10 AM Greylock A 1842
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