(Un)authorized Readers -- Imitations, Rewritings, and other Fan Fictions
Lancelot, Chrétien de Troyes; Le Morte d’Arthur, Sir Thomas Malory; Hamlet and The Tempest, Shakespeare; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Tom Stoppard; Une Tempête (A Tempest), Aimé Césaire. Course pack and films TBA.
In this class, we will read modern examples of imitation and rewriting (such as Aimé Césaire’s A Tempest, which reimagines Shakespeare’s Tempest from Caliban’s perspective, and the Baker Street Journal, which publishes academic articles treating the characters in the Sherlock Holmes stories as real historical personages) alongside examples of medieval and Renaissance continuations and rewritings, from the troubadour vidas and razos to Avellaneda’s continuation of Don Quixote. All these texts use another work of literature as their starting point, making them acts of reading, just as much as acts of writing.
Looking at this wide range of literature as “fan fiction” will allow us to consider how the roles of “author” and “reader” are shaped by history, society, technology, genre, and form, and how works of rewriting can be used to reposition these roles. We will think about reading and writing as practices that are historically situated and ethically charged, and ask how and why certain fan fictions are “authorized” while others are not.
Since the primary goal of this course is to develop students’ critical reading and writing skills, we will think about the academic paper as a a genre that (like fan fiction) requires an understanding of, and engagement with, the world of a literary text. We will also become “fans” of the analytic essay itself, seeking to understand its conventions and constituent parts in order to make our own interve
French R1A satisfies the first half of the Reading and Composition Requirement. Classes are conducted in ENGLISH.