Spring 2009


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 spring 2009 we shall read three famous representations of the intersection between domestic life and national culture, works which challenge the separation of the private and public domains of human experience: George Eliot’s Middlemarch, Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, and Norman Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song. Preference given to first-year students and sophomores. Limited to 15 students. Spring semester. Professor Peterson.