Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Studies in Contemporary Literature: Suggested Books to Read and Review

In my graduate course, Studies in Contemporary Literature, along with reading the regular book list, students are asked to read and write a review of one book of (relatively) contemporary literature not on the regular syllabus, or in some cases a somewhat older book that was recently translated into English. Books are chosen as follows: students give me a list of three contemporary books of literature that they have liked, and then I suggest an author and/or a title for them. I hope my suggestions both speak to their interests and challenge them. If the students are uncomfortable with the title I suggest, they can request a new suggestion. 

Keep in mind then that this list is not a general list of contemporary books of literature that I like, but one that is based first on the interests of the students, and only then on my own ideas of what might work for them. Not surprisingly to me, most of the students gave me lists of fiction only, but there were several exceptions.

I’m finding it useful to keep a list of my suggestions, and thought others might be interested too.

Berg, Aase: Remainland 
Borkhius, Charles: After Image 
Can Xue: Blue Light in the Sky and Other Stories 
Carter, Angela: The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories 
Castle, Terry: The Professor and Other Writings 
China’s Avant Garde Fiction: An Anthology, ed. Jing Wang and others
Harrison, M. John: Light 
Jaffe, Harold: False Positive 
Kraus, Chris: Aliens and Anorexia 
Lispector, Clarice (new translations): The Passion According to G.H., or A Breath of Life 
Lu, Pamela: Ambient Parking Lot 
Mahfouz, Naguib: Arabian Nights and Days 
Martin, Stephen-Paul: The Possibility of Music 
Mutis, Alvaro: The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll (seven novellas)
Olsen, Lance: Calendar of Regrets 
Pelevin, Victor: The Blue Lantern, or Omon Ra 
Pynchon, Thomas: Inherent Vice 
Saramago, Jose: Blindness 
Tillman, Lynne: This Is Not It 
Valenzuela, Luisa: The Censors, or Bedside Manners 
Zambreno, Kate: Green Girl 
Zurita, Raul: Purgatory

Friday, June 29, 2012

Studies in Contemporary Literature: Fall 2012 book list

Studies in Contemporary Literature
LTWR 513 Section 01
Wed 5:30-8:15
Mark Wallace
Office Hours: W/Th 3:00-4:00

Texts (in alphabetical order):

Kevin Davies, The Golden Age of Paraphernalia
Junot Diaz, Drown
Debra Di Blasi, The Jiri Chronicles and Other Fictions
Electronic Literature Collection, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (online resources)
Brian Evenson, Fugue State
Gurlesque, ed. Glenum and Greenberg
Bhanu Kapil, Humanimal
Philip Levine, What Work Is
Bernadette Mayer, Scarlet Tanager
Lynn Nottage, Ruined
Patrik Ourednik, Europeana
Rodrigo Toscano, Collapsible Poetics Theater
Ubu Web (online resource)

Note: Many of these books we'll be reading in their entirety, but from some I'll be making selections (specific selections available at a later time).

Course Description: This advanced level multi-genre course will focus on key works and issues in literature produced within the last 20-25 years. Fiction, poetry, drama, and mixed genre work will be considered. Emphasis will be placed on difficult and inventive works, and on exploring the connections and conflicts between differing narrative, poetic, and dramatic structures (both conventional and non-conventional) and the relationship between literary conventions and cultural context. Students will also be required to attend several public literary readings.

It is strongly suggested that undergraduates taking this course have completed 308b or 309b.

General Reading Schedule

Weeks 1-3: Fiction (Diaz, Di Blasi, Evenson)
Weeks 4-7: Poetry (Levine, Gurlesque, Mayer, Davies)
Weeks 8-9: Drama (Nottage, Toscano)
Weeks 10-12 Mixed Genre Work (Kapil, Ourednik, Electronic Literature and Ubu Web collections)