Fall 2007

Big Books

Listed in: English, as ENGL-01


Dale E. Peterson (Section 02)


This course explores the particular pleasures and interpretive problems of reading (and writing about) very long works-books so vast that any sure sense of the relation between individual part and mammoth whole may seem to elude the reader who becomes lost in a colossal imaginative world. How do we gauge, and engage with, works of disproportionate scale and encyclopedic ambition? How do we find our bearings within huge texts and who or what is our guide? In fall 2007 we shall read three famous fictional representations of a national culture undergoing crisis and transformation: Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, Melville's Moby Dick, and Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children. Preference given to first-year students and sophomores. Limited to 15 students. Professor Peterson.