May 25, 2024  
2021-2022 Hill Book (Class of 2025) 
2021-2022 Hill Book (Class of 2025) [ARCHIVED HILL BOOK]

ENG 100/146 - Telling It Slant: Unreliable Narrators in American Literature (Core/First-Year Seminar)

Three or Four Credits
Offered Periodically

Should we trust the narrators of the literature we read? Why or why not? What about the “speakers” in poetry or the characters on stage in a play? In these works of fictions, moreover, is there a way to assess the reliability or unreliability of the voices telling us the story? How do these issues affect our experience of reading literature? This course uses these questions to examine a diverse set of texts: selections from Emily Dickinson’s poetry; Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno; Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw; Nella Larson’s Passing; a play by Anna Deavere Smith; as well as short stories by Sherman Alexie, Kate Chopin, Junot Díaz, and Toni Morrison. Along with exploring these works, we will also read and discuss relevant secondary and theoretical work (from Wayne Booth, Peter Rabinowitz, and others) that can shed light on the challenges-and pleasures-of negotiating reliable and unreliable voices in literature.

Prerequisite(s)/Restriction(s): ENG 146 is a First-Year Seminar and open to First-Year Students only.
General Education Attribute(s): ENG 100, for 3-credits, fulfills the Literature Cornerstone.
ENG 146, for 4-credits, fulfills the First-Year Seminar and Literature Cornerstone.