Fiction and the Making “Up” of History
All of the stories and novels in this course are based on historical events (history, in this case, defined as the generally accepted record of public events). We will ask two questions of each of the works we read: does knowing more about the history behind it change the way we understand the fictional account? and does the fictional account change our understanding of the historical event? Potential texts are Angela Carter's The Fall River Axe Murders, Michael Ondaatje's The Collected Works of Billie the Kid, Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men, William Styron's The Confessions of Nat Turner, Toni Morrison's Beloved, E. L. Doctorow's Ragtime, Walter Abish's How German Is It? (Wie Deutsch ist es?), and Musuji Ibuse's Black Rain. The course instructor (M. Maurer at firstname.lastname@example.org ) invites additional suggestions from the students who will make up the seminar, so that students in the course can position themselves in relation to topics they find absorbing as they practice the college-level reading, writing, speaking, and research skills that are important goals of first-year seminars. Students who successfully complete this seminar will receive course credit for a 200-level ENGL course and satisfy one half of the Human Thought and Expression area of inquiry requirement.
Margaret Maurer teaches Shakespeare and other early modern British writers and Core 151.