Reading List for 21st Century Literature (Fall 2012)

This fall at George Mason I’m teaching a special topics course called ENGLISH 442: 21st Century Literature. My department reserves the 442 course number for “American Literary Periods” and this usually means some recognizable—not to mention canonized—era of American literature, comprised of works that share certain stylistic and thematic characteristics. Nineteenth century naturalism. Twentieth century… Continue reading Reading List for 21st Century Literature (Fall 2012)

Reading List for Science Fiction Course (ENGL 451)

After much deliberation---and with your feedback, both here and twice on Twitter---I have finalized the reading list for my upcoming Science Fiction class. Actually, I finalized it months ago, but I haven't had a chance to post it here until now. This list isn't everything we're reading; there'll be short stories, critical essays, other nonfiction… Continue reading Reading List for Science Fiction Course (ENGL 451)

Post-Print Fiction Course Description (for Fall 2011)

Here is an early, tentative course description for my Fall 2011 senior seminar for the English Honors students. I welcome comments or reading recommendations! Post-Print Fiction (ENGL 400 Honors Seminar) For several centuries the novel has been associated with a single material form: the bound book, made of paper and printed with ink. But what… Continue reading Post-Print Fiction Course Description (for Fall 2011)

ENGL 685 (Graphic Novels) Reading List

I always agonize over which books to teach during any given semester. It's not for a lack of possibilities. Indeed, there are always too many choices, too many great books to teach in the fields of postmodern literature and experimental literature. And I always want to get the syllabus just right for my students, balancing… Continue reading ENGL 685 (Graphic Novels) Reading List

Loud, Crowded, and Out of Control: A New Model for Scholarly Publishing

Yesterday Dan Cohen, the director of the Center for History and New Media and my colleague at George Mason University, posted a thoughtful piece describing a major problem of scholarly publishing (and of book publishing more generally). Dan suggests that while the "supply" of written work has changed with the advent of digital collaborations, academic… Continue reading Loud, Crowded, and Out of Control: A New Model for Scholarly Publishing

National Novel Writing Month Tips

November has been decreed National Novel Writing Month by some wise guy in California. The idea is that you have 30 days to write a 50,000 word novel. A noble endeavor to be sure, but one that seems doomed to not succeed on any satisfying level. I imagine it's like running a marathon, but without… Continue reading National Novel Writing Month Tips

Spring 2010 Course Descriptions

HNRS 353: Videogames in Critical Contexts T/R 1:30-2:45pm In this Honors Seminar we will study the history and cultural impact of videogames from a number of critical perspectives. As products of a complicated network of social, economic, and technological forces, videogames are dense cultural texts, deeply layered with multiple meanings. Whether we consider early arcade… Continue reading Spring 2010 Course Descriptions

Updates on David Foster Wallace review by Jay Murray Siskind

A few weeks ago I was interviewed by the Chronicle of Higher Education for a story about the fake David Foster Wallace review in Modernism/Modernity. The Chronicle story is online and at least for the first week, not behind a paywall. I was in Spain at the time, so for the interview I had to… Continue reading Updates on David Foster Wallace review by Jay Murray Siskind

The truth behind Jay Murray Siskind’s review of David Foster Wallace

And finally, the wink and nod I've been looking for. Laurence Rainey, the editor of Modernism/Modernity, and Nicole Devarenne, the former managing editor of Modernism/Modernity, sent me this open letter today: An Open Letter to Mark Sample, We appreciate your recent remarks concerning a review essay about David Foster Wallace, one that appeared in late… Continue reading The truth behind Jay Murray Siskind’s review of David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace, Don DeLillo, and the Littlest Literary Hoax

Jay Murray Siskind is Don DeLillo's only recurring character, having first appeared in DeLillo's pseudonymous Amazons and later as a kind of Mephistopheles character in White Noise. Now, Siskind has broken out of the realm of fiction and entered the real world. I am referring to "An Undeniably Controversial and Perhaps Even Repulsive Talent," a… Continue reading David Foster Wallace, Don DeLillo, and the Littlest Literary Hoax

Reading List for ENGL 459: Disaster Fiction (Fall 2009)

Here's the official reading list for ENGL 459 on Disaster Fiction, along with a quick breakdown of the class's organization: Part I: The Disaster Novel Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle Part II: The Postmodern Disaster Novel White Noise by Don DeLillo Part III: Apocalyptic Journeys Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler… Continue reading Reading List for ENGL 459: Disaster Fiction (Fall 2009)

Zen Scavenger Essay Writing

Lately I've been wondering how to use Jane McGonigal's Zen Scavenger Hunt idea in my teaching. A Zen Scavenger Hunt is essentially a reversed-engineered scavenger hunt. The hunters go out and find ten or or so items and only afterward do they receive the list of the items they're supposed to be scavenging for. The… Continue reading Zen Scavenger Essay Writing

Fall 2009 Course Descriptions

I've got two fantastic advanced literature classes planned for Fall 2009: ENGL 459 (Disaster Fiction) This class explores what the influential critic and novelist Susan Sontag called "the imagination of disaster." Sontag was speaking of Hollywood cinema of the fifties and sixties, arguing that end-of-the-world films of this era simultaneously aestheticize destruction and address a… Continue reading Fall 2009 Course Descriptions