Space Time explores conflicts over how these two dimensions were understood in the decades surrounding the 1969 landing on the Moon. For NASA and the government which supported it, the ability to fly men to outer space and return them safely was evidence for the power of a technocratic realism, in which time was linear, space homogenous, and stories ballistic in their trajectories. Simultaneously, however, Cold War geopolitics, rapid social change, and the creation of an electronic mass culture made such Newtonian realism seem an increasingly inadequate basis for representing the world. What kinds of language might prove able to express the experience of time, space, and speed opened up by a flight to the Moon? Works studied will likely include Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow; Wolfe, The Right Stuff; Mailer, Of a Fire on the Moon; as well as films, memoirs, and readings in cultural history and language theory.
The Class: Type: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: frequent ungraded exercises; two essays (one of eight and of twelve pages); regular attendance and vigorous participation
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the Gaudino option
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: English majors; Comparative Literature majors; prospective English majors
Department Notes: meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ENGL or COMP; meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AMST
Distributions: Division I;