Spring 2018


Listed in: English, as ENGL-112  |  Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies, as SWAG-106


Ben Lieber (Section 01)


(Offered as ENGL 112 and SWAG 106)  This course will examine the phenomenon of “realism” in a variety of artistic media. We will study realism in the visual arts, film, television, and literature with a view towards determining the nature of our interest in the representation of “real life” and the ways in which works of art are or are not an accurate reflection of that life.  Among the works we may consider are classic English novels (Defoe, Austen, Dickens), European and North and South American short fiction (Gogol, Zola, Chekhov, Henry James, Kafka, Borges, Alice Munro), essays and memoirs (Orwell, Frederick Exley, Mary Karr) and films, both documentary and fiction (Double Indemnity, The Battle of Algiers, Saving Private Ryan). Two themes will attract special attention:  the representation of women’s lives and the representation of war. We will address such questions as the following:  Is a photograph always more realistic than a painting? In what way can a story about a man who turns into a bug be considered realistic?  How real is virtual reality?  The course will conclude with an examination of the phenomenon of reality television.

This is an intensive writing course.  Frequent short papers will be assigned.  Preference given to first-year students and to students who have taken a previous intensive writing course and who wish to continue to work to improve their analytic writing.  Admission with consent of the instructor.  Each section limited to 12 students.  Fall and spring semesters.  Senior Lecturer Lieber.

If Overenrolled: Preference given to first-year students, students recommended by their First-Year Seminar instructor, and students who have taken a previous intensive writing course.


Writing Intensive


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019