A slight change in the Spring 14 course offerings list. The first listed of the three Senior Seminars (E. 4991, CRN 16107) will be taught by Amy King instead of Steve Mentz.
Here’s a description of the course as it will be taught:
Eng 4991, Senior Seminar in British Literature:
“Memory, Selfhood, and Representation”
Dr. Amy King
At the conclusion of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813), Elizabeth Bennet voices a surprising lesson about memory: “You must learn some of my philosophy. Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure.” This is a course on memory, and the way in which literature has taken up the subject of the dynamics of human memory, ranging in time from St. Augustine to contemporary fiction. Memory will be explored across a variety of genres, including: novel, short-story, memoir, drama, film, and poetry (especially elegy but also lyric). We will also treat various memorials— including those devoted to remembrance of war, genocide, terrorism, and epidemic— as cultural texts to be read. Our primary task will be to explore ways in which British literature has grappled with the complexity of memory in both its personal and collective dimensions. In addition, we will read contemporary accounts of memory from the field of psychology and neuroscience. We will consider the following issues, among others, in relation to the literature: memory and the self, mourning/elegy, trauma and memory, collective remembrance and representation, individual identity and its relation to memory, memorials, amnesia and hypermnesia, memory and unreliability. Some questions we will consider: what is the relation of recollection to individual identity? How are memories of traumatic or difficult events processed or distorted? What are the ethics, and representational problems, of collective remembrance? To what extent is memory a guide to the truth of past events?
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