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76-377 Rhetoric of Fiction

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Wayne Booths book, The Rhetoric of Fiction, is one of the classic discussions of the ways in which fiction communicates, moves or motivates us. It is a commonplace to assume that literature has a message, but it is still not at all clear just how an imaginative representation of the world does, or can, communicate. Booth had particular difficulty understanding how fiction could communicate a felt sense of life and value when there was doubt about narrative authority, or the reliability of the author. So, postmodern fiction (from Joyce on) caused him problems. In an attempt to develop a postmodern rhetoric of fiction we shall be looking at texts that deal directly with issues of persuasion, or texts that seem directly to address the reader. Of particular interest will be texts that indirectly implicate the reader, and achieve a kind of implicit rhetoric even when they apparently frustrate normal expectations of communicative language (e.g. the apparent fact that the reader is also a character in Calvinos novel). The reading will include the following: Jane Austen, Persuasion; Henry James, The Turn of the Screw; James Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man; Fedor Dostoevsky Notes From Underground, Gustave Flaubert Madame Bovary; Italo Calvino, If on A Winter Night a Traveller; selections from Wayne Booth, Kenneth Burke, and Mikhail Bakhtin.

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  Spring 2005 times

Sec Time Day Instructor Location  
A 10:30 - 11:50 am T Kennedy PH 125B Add course to my schedule
R Kennedy PH 125B

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