Spring 2024 Courses


It’s syllabus time again—what’s that you say? the semester has already started?—well I guess I’d better put something on the internet to show I have some idea what I’m going to be doing in class.

I am teaching a graduate seminar this term: Twentieth-Century Genre: The Case of the Detective. Through some unaccountable oversight I have been allowed to teach a course designated “theory,” which means all students will be required to rewrite Aristotle’s Poetics as if it were about Nancy Drew mysteries instead of tragedy. But seriously folks: the goal is to survey some of the variety of the genre over the last century-plus, from Nancy Drew to Percival Everett, and see what kind of shock we can give to our literary-historical and generic assumptions when we do that.

I am also renewing a course I haven’t taught in ten years, an undergraduate seminar designed around a selection of Anglophone novelists who have won the Nobel prize: Nobel Prizewinners. After much wrestling with my conscience I have had to leave off Patrick White in order to clear some room for the last decade’s very interesting new Anglophone-novelist laureates. The previous century’s laureates are represented on my syllabus by Kipling, Faulkner, Gordimer—and Morrison’s “Recitatif.” You decide which of these choices is trolling.

Those links go to course pages which summarize the schedule and link on to PDFs with the complete syllabuses. As time and the copyright window marches on, it is becoming ever easier for a twentieth-centuryist to point to digitized sources: it’s pretty to fun to be able to link to complete scans of pulp magazines and old mystery anthologies. So I did that. Long live the Internet Archive.