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Division: Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts
Department: Literary Studies
Course Number: LLSW 3510
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: Yes
In Intermediate Nonfiction, students will focus on the theme of Personal Culture – their own, and that of selected nonfiction writers. We will begin by considering what constitutes a personal culture, and follow this up by examining the works of certain music, dance and movie critics, and writing our own reviews and personal pieces. From this descriptive/evaluating work, we will move into close observation of our surroundings and the social networks we’ve embraced (the human kind), reconstructing such surroundings, using dialogue and observed detail. The weight and meaning of personal cultural in extreme circumstances will be looked at. At the end of the course, students will choose topics for longer papers that will discuss and frame the observing, describing and evoking they’ve been practicing. A final paper could be a memoir piece focusing on the “forces” that shaped a personality; or on an event in the past that means something to you (and why); or it could be a longer reportorial piece (about a television series, some linked literary texts, several song cycles or record albums, a fashion designer, an artist, an interesting chef or restaurant, etc.). These papers can be approached from either a subjective point of view of an objective one. Throughout the semester, emphasis will be placed on tone, style, prose rhythms, beginnings and endings, and the search for, and enhancement of, each student’s own writing voice. Course authors will include Carl Wilson, assorted music, dance and movie critics, Mikhail Zoshchenko, Marina Tsvetayeva, James Baldwin, possibly Primo Levi, Viktor Skhlovsky or Laurent Binet, and others.
Course Open to: Degree Students with Restrictions
Open to Undergraduate students.