AMST 124
The Poetics of Place Spring 2015
Division II Writing Skills
Cross-listed ENGL 124 / AMST 124
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

The poet Edouard Glissant writes,”The landscape has its language. The very words and letters of the American novel are entangled in the strands, in the mobile structure of one’s own landscape. And the language of my landscape is primarily that of the forest, which unceasingly bursts with life. I do not practice the economy of the meadow, I do not share the serenity of the spring.” These lines suggest not only that each landscape inspires unique textual expressions but also that differing forms of literary language constitute environments unto themselves. We will explore a number of such literary environments with the aim of investigating a) how literary works evoke and grapple with the sensual and atmospheric qualities of places, b) how environment has played a role in shaping literary forms and canons, and c) the ways in which experimental engagements with place have broadened and disrupted our ideas about both literature and geography. Possible texts include Crèvecoeur’s Letters from an American Farmer, Wharton’s The House of Mirth, Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, Toomer’s Cane, Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom, Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place, and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. We’ll also consider geography and cartography as forms of narrative, looking at works like Dennis Wood’s Everything Sings: Maps for a Narrative Atlas.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 3541
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: active participation in class discussion; four or five essays totaling 20 pages of writing; peer review and revision of essays
Extra Info: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ENGL; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AMST
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: first-year students who have not taken or placed out of a 100-level ENGL course
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ENGL 124 Division I AMST 124 Division II

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