ENGL 207 A1: How Stories Work: Introduction to Narrative

C. Bracken

This course will focus on a genre of narrative that has been irrepressibly popular in Western-European culture in recent years: romance. Hegel says that romance is a secular religion that aims to reconcile the “inner life” with the outer realities of labor and law, politics and police. Romance trains us to accept our current situation by holding out the promise of better things to come. We will learn to recognize conventional narrative patterns not only canonical and popular texts, from the courtly romance to the Hollywood blockbuster, but also in everyday life, for example in romantic redemptive projects.

Probable Texts (No, you won’t have to read them all):

Auerbach, Mimesis (Princeton)
Barthes, Image,Music,Text (FSG)
Chandler, The Big Sleep (Vintage)
Chretien de Troyes, Yvain, trans. Raffel (Yale UP)
Frye, Anatomy of Criticism (Princeton)
James, The Turn of the Screw (Oxford)
Propp, Morphology of the Folktale (Texas)
White, Metahistory (Johns Hopkins)
Turner, Drama, Fields, and Metaphors (Cornell)
The Searchers, dir. John Ford (Warner)
The Matrix, dir. Lilly and Lana Wachowski (Warner)