American Prose, American Places
From Walden to The Wire, literature and pop culture texts draw heavily on their settings and strongly influence audiences’ perceptions about those places in turn. Paying particular attention to American fiction, this seminar will explore the relationship between distinctive places and the writing done in and/or about them. Combining close reading of creative texts and careful research into their cultural, historical, and spatial contexts, we will go from our own North Country to the South and the West. We will make our way from frontier to city, from seascape to desert, from the plains to the parlor, considering how such spaces inform our reading. Through individual reflections and observational outings, we’ll also examine our own experiences of place, asking how we are shaped by the places we’ve known, how we make sense of them, and how these inquiries can make us more grounded—but also help us take flight—in our own work as thinkers, readers, and writers.