Lit. Seminar: The Art of Influence
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Level: Undergraduate
Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: MFA Creative Writing Program
Department: Writing Program
Course Number: NWRW 3871
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Literature
  • Creative Writing
  • Poetry
Students look for what Jonathan Lethem terms the “ecstasy of influence” in a selection of contemporary novels, memoirs, and poems. Throughout the course, writers visit the classroom to discuss their craft, particularly the “ghost” texts that inspire, haunt, or structure their writing. In preparation for these visits, students read both the precursor and the contemporary work. Discussion focuses on the act of making and the essential and ongoing dialogue writers must have with those who preceded them. Students also practice their own literary thefts, borrowings, and appropriations. Paired readings, subject to change, include Dante and Mary Jo Bang; William Maxwell and Sarah Manguso; Mitchell Jackson and Junot Diaz; and others.
Course Open to: Degree Students


Open to Undergraduate students.