Introduction to Literary Study: Boredom and the Everyday

Course Number: ENGL 10
Prerequisites: Writing 2
General Education Areas Fulfilled: Check on GOLD
Catalog Course Entry: ENGL 10
Quarter: Summer B 2016
Instructor: Shoemaker, Tyler
Day(s): MTWR
Time: 2:00pm - 3:25pm
Location: SH 1609

The central question of this course is simply this: what does it mean to read, write, and think like an English professor? And as an introductory dry run for English majors-to-be, or for those fulfilling their mandated GE requirements, another question follows quickly on the heels of the first: what place does the study of literature have in a liberal arts education? What’s useful about literature, if use seems to be the dominant framework for our STEM-driven moment? How can reading well hope to link up with living well? In anticipation of a response, this class routes such questions through the philosophical category of repetition, examining how fictional moments of wishful thinking, desire, entrapment, despair, sameness, and even boredom can create a meaningful engagement with both literature and everyday living. Starting with Ben Lerner’s Leaving the Atocha Station and moving through the literature of escapism, poetic structure, scenes of the routine, and radical breaks therefrom this course seeks to ask and to answer, as many times as our short summer session allows, a single question: how is boredom meaningful, what makes the everyday anything but mundane?