ENGL 807 (01) - Fiction: Form and Technique

Topic/Fiction:Form & Technique

Durham   Liberal Arts :: English
Credits: 4.0
Term: Spring 2022 - Full Term (01/25/2022 - 05/09/2022)
Grade Mode: Letter Grading
Class Size:   15  
CRN: 51577
A writer's view of the forms, techniques, and theories of fiction. The novels, short stories, and works of criticism studied vary, depending on the instructor.
You must sign up in the Dept Office before registering through WEBCAT.
Instructors: Clark Knowles

Times & Locations

Start Date End Date Days Time Location
1/25/2022 5/9/2022 T 9:40am - 12:30pm HS 250C
Additional Course Details: 

Literary Genrelessness: Writers dealing with the absurd, unexplainable, existential, and the unknown. Inspired by Giovanni Boccaccio’s plague stories gathered in “The Decameron,” the New York Times asked twenty-nine fiction writers to write about pandemic life for their Decameron Project. When reality is surreal, they surmised, only fiction can make sense of it. Making sense of reality is what storytellers have been doing since long before the written word, and in this class, we’ll read and discuss a wide variety of contemporary writers who do just that: N.K. Jemisin, Mohsin Hamid, Carmen Maria Machado, Shruti Swamy, Jennifer Egan, John Edgar Wideman, Clarice Lispector, Italo Calvino, Lydia Davis, and more. As writers, we’ll discuss issues of craft, intention, ambition, and perhaps most importantly, practical application of the skills gleaned from careful reading of authors who ignore genre in their quest to wrest sense from the senseless. We’ll leave no stone unturned as we ask not what it all means, but how it all works. How do these writers visualize, create, populate, and realize their stories? How do their choices both utilize and surmount realism? How do they access what John Gardner called the “vivid and continuous dream” of fiction? Since this class is about writers and for writers, we’ll read like writers, devotees to the lucid application of language in service of good art. We’ll also join these writers on the page, writing and presenting work that follows Jill Alexander Essbaum’s adage: “Obey no rule that impedes good art.”