ENGL 109 Spring 2013 Complaints, Rants, and Grievances (W)

Also offered Fall 2012

We complain in order to voice our dissatisfaction with things as they are. It is a rhetorical form that seems to demand change or, at minimum, acknowledgement. As a genre, however, the complaint and its companions, the rant and the grievance, often speak to deaf ears: a distant and uncaring beloved; a bureaucracy that may not recognize one's humanity; abstractions, systems, and machines. In literary form, complaints introduce questions such as: What is the relationship between literary complaints and legal ones? What effects can such expressions have on social and political realities? Is it necessary that someone hear our dissatisfaction, or might the simple act of voicing complaint relieve our frustrations? We will explore texts that engage thematically or formally with the genres of the complaint, the rant, and the grievance, including complaint poems; stories that thematize repetition, frustration, and disillusionment; and political forms such as the manifesto. We will read writers including Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Herman Melville, T.S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, Willa Cather, Valerie Solanas, David Wojnarowicz, and Jamaica Kincaid; we will also consider some alternative and collective forms, such as the harmonized frustrations of the Helsinki Complaints Choir.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: active class participation; 4 or 5 essays totaling 20 pages of writing
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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
Other Attributes:
Enrollment Limit: 19
Expected Enrollment: 19
Class Number: 3582
ENGL109-01(S) SEM Complaints, Rants, & Grievance (W) Division 1: Languages and the ArtsWriting Intensive Margaux E. Cowden
TR 08:30 AM-09:45 AM Hollander 140 3582
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