ENGLISH 161: Narrative and Narrative Theory: The Novel Salon (lecture)
Taught by: Adam Johnson
Fall Quarter, 2011-2012
MW 3:15-4:45, Room: Econ140
Many novel courses focus on social, political and historical interpretations, while others emphasize a work’s place in the literary tradition. This course will examine the conventions of the novel and take as its central question, “What is the writer’s world view, and how does her use of form and technique reveal that vision?” To that end, we’ll study the ways in which writers weave detail, description, action, dialog and thought to create scenes, paying attention to how the shifting balance of these elements delivers an author’s voice. In service of the novel as a whole, we’ll look at the ways scenes build tension, create empathy, propel story, reveal character, explore setting, and raise/contest ideas. Finally, we’ll examine the ways in which architecture, arc, plot, point of view, perspective and voice are all extensions of the same thing: character. Particular cases in the development of the novel’s conventions and capabilities will be considered, and the course will culminate with visits from the authors of our final book selections.
This course fulfills the following Major Requirements: