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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Fall 2008

E 314J • Literature and Journalism

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34445 MWF
10:00 AM-11:00 AM
Kreuter, N

Course Description

Computer-assisted instruction

When Tom Wolfe's novel A Man in Full was published in 1999, fiction writer John Irving described Wolfe's novels as "yak" and "journalistic hyperbole described as fiction." Irving continued, saying of Wolfe, "He's a journalist ... he can't create a character. He can't create a situation." Early in Wolfe's journalism career he was criticized for "fictionalizing" his work, not for fabricating news, but for bringing narrative and other writing techniques traditionally reserved for fiction to journalism. This E 314J section, Literature and Journalism, will explore the troubled relationship between literature and journalism, and particularly between "high" literature and the so-called New Journalism, which has been condemned by journalists and fiction writers alike, albeit for different reasons.

Some of the questions this course will explore include: What is fiction? What is journalism? Where do the two cross or become enmeshed? What are the stakes in the conflict between "high" literary authors like Irving and Updike and journalistic writers like Wolfe? In our pursuit of these questions, and others, we will read both fiction and some non-fiction written by literary writers and journalists, as well as a variety of critical articles. This course should be of interest not only to students in the College of Liberal Arts but also to students in the College of Communications, as well as any other students interested in the gray area between fact and fiction.

Grading Policy

Paper 1: 20%, Paper 2: 25%, Paper: 35%, Presentation: 10%, Short Assignments: 10%


Mark Twain -- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Graff and Phelan edition)
Stephen Crane -- Maggie, Girl of the Streets
Tom Wolfe --The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamline Baby
Tom Wolfe -- Bonfire of the Vanities
John Irving -- The Cider House Rules
Norman Mailer -- The Naked and the Dead
Joan Didion -- Play it as it Lays
Course Pack, which will include fiction and non-fiction selections from John Irving, John Updike, Joan Didion, Hunter S. Thompson, Gay Talese, Tom Wolfe, Normal Mailer, Truman Capote, as well as a variety of critical articles


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