Style in Writing examines the problem of literary style in the 19th and 20th centuries from both fictional and theoretical perspectives. We will examine a range of writers characterized by stylistic peculiarities and experimentation, who display an explicit and even self-reflexive interest in investigating the nature of language. Ultimately, the problem of style brings about an encounter with the material surface of language. To read with an eye to style shifts attention from interpretation (reading for the "meaning" of texts) to the textures, nuances and permutations of the linguistic medium itself.
An important purpose of the course is to induce students to experience style in writing: to try writing in different styles, to read across literary genres and historical contexts. The class will combine lecture and discussion with a workshop atmosphere that emphasizes experimentation and rigorous play. Students should be prepared to read painstakingly, think reflectively, and write creatively in the course.
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