ENGL 110 Fall 2014 American Love Stories (W)

It's been argued that American writers don't know how to tell a happy love story. We have no Jane Austen; instead of ending a tale with the payoff of a wedding, or writing about the joys of family life, our best authors obsess over loneliness, death, and escape from civilization. In this class, we will collectively test and revamp that thesis, constructing both an informal history and a taxonomy of passions and attachments across nearly two centuries of American imaginings. Some of the ground we are likely to cover may be familiar (The Great Gatsby, The Scarlet Letter); some may be new (Henry James's "The Beast in the Jungle," Mary Wilkins Freeman's "A New England Nun"). We will consider some film narratives, too, like The Philadelphia Story, Annie Hall, or (projecting the future of love) Her. Across them all, we'll ask if there is anything peculiarly American about these visions of love, whether it's love gone wrong or, in some unpredictable ways, gone right.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: about 20 pages of writing total, split into 4 or 5 shorter essays
Additional Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: first-year students who have not taken or placed out of a 100-level English course
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Divisional Attributes: Division I,Writing Intensive
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Enrollment Limit: 19
Expected Enrollment: 19
Class Number: 1403
ENGL 110 - 01 (F) SEM American Love Stories (W) Division 1: Languages and the ArtsWriting Intensive Ashley C. Barnes
TR 08:30 AM-09:45 AM Greylock A 1403
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