ENG458H1F-L5101ENG458H1F L5101 MW6-8 SS2129
Advanced Studies Group 5:
Aphorism, Fragment, Tweet.
Instructor: Simon Reader
Office Phone: TBA
Office Location: TBA
.Brief Description of Course:
Our culture is saturated with short pieces of writing (text messages, status updates, tweets, etc&) and we are constantly being reminded of their supposedly disorienting effects. This seminar aims to situate this twenty-first century phenomenon by turning to the historical examples of the aphorism and the fragment. We will pay particular attention to the way these forms display paradoxical and often charming combinations of wisdom and flippancy, brevity and excess, convention and subversion. How do the writers on our syllabus deploy them to shock readers out of conventional thinking? How do they imagine that short pieces of writing and reading can generate new ways of seeing the world? Throughout the term we will keep open the question of how these genres relate to their online descendants, a line of thought that will involve strategic forays into social media (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram) and the blogosphere. Required Reading:
An eclectic selection of aphoristic and fragmentary works from literature and philosophy since the eighteenth century, including but not limited to Friedrich Nietzsche, Oscar Wilde, Anne Carson, Francis Bacon, Larochefoucauld, Samuel Johnson, Alexander Pope, E.M. Cioran, etc&., well as select twitter feeds and pieces of twenty-first century e-literature. First Three Authors/Texts:
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science
, trans. Walter Kaufman (Vintage Books); Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray
. Ed. Joseph Bristow (Oxford World Classics); A Presocratics Reader: Selected Fragments
. Ed. Patricia Curd (Hackett, 2005).Method of Evaluation
: A number of shorter assignments; short presentation; final paper.