Instructor: Prof. Thora Brylowe

This course examines the construction of the modern author, exploring the relationship between literary books and the people who make them, write them, and read them. We begin at the end, with the death of the author. The first half of the course deals with postmodern fiction and with theoretical works from various camps (like Deconstruction and American media theory) that seek to dethrone "The Author" by revealing that he is nothing more than a construct, a collective fantasy, a consumer product. The 1960s and 70s saw widespread recognition that the author was a category ready made to package, organize, and discipline readers and texts. We will have to consider what it means to sweep away this powerful creation, who is—was?—at the center of our discipline. If the author dies, what of the reader and the text? What possibilities arise from such a momentous shift in perspective? The second half of the course will look for answers in the birth of the author, which happened through cultural and legal changes in the eighteenth century. In Britain, these changes cleared space for a new kind of canonicity and a reorganization of the literary field. We'll take a look at shifts in publishing and editing and read works of literature. The course will finish up with a novel that digests many of these competing notions of authorship, Ian McEwan’s 2001 Atonement.

Repeatable: Repeatable for up to 9.00 total credit hours. 
Requisites: Requires prerequisite courses of ENGL 2102 and ENGL 2112 (all minimum grade C-). Restricted to students with 57-180 credits (Junior or Senior) English (ENGL) or Humnanities (HUMN) majors and minors only.
Additional Information:Arts Sci Gen Ed: Distribution-Arts Humanities
Departmental Category: Critical Studies in English