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ENGLISH 5A: WISE: Unfinished Novels

Few species of writing are more exquisitely uncomfortable than a novel that is not (and never will be) finished. An author dies, or loses interest, or flouts convention: whatever the cause, unfinished novels demand an especially dynamic relationship between reader and text, precipitating either wild flights of imagination or scrupulous detective work, if not both at once. In the nineteenth century, a period obsessed with all things comprehensive and complete, such fragmentariness would have appeared still more challenging, even subversive. Closely reading works by Jane Austen, Edgar Allan Poe, and Charles Dickens, along with select critical interpretations, this course will invite participants to ask: what do unfinished novels reveal to us that finished ones cannot? What peculiar insights do they give us into the processes and pressures of literary production? And what exactly is our role in consuming them?nNote: This Writing-Intensive Seminar in English (WISE) course fulfills WIM for English majors. Non-majors are welcome, space permitting. Enrollment is by permission (contact vbeebe@stanford.edu). For more information go to https://english.stanford.edu/writing-intensive-seminars-english-wise.
Terms: Aut | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-A-II
Instructors: Redmond, M. (PI)
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