E 395M • Postmodernist American Fiction
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
The course will focus on the philosophical implications and literary strategies of postmodernist American fiction. We shall investigate the relation of postmodernist fiction to postmodernist Theory, not always a perfect match, and to the literary conventions of parody, satire and Pop Art as well as the relation of Pomo and Pop Art (especially Warhol and Lichtenstein) to mass and popular culture. I want to especially focus on the problematic quality of modern irony, whether it is sanely or irresponsibly Pyrrhonic, even nihilistic or whether it is a moral perspective of perspectives, that is to say, was Kierkegaard was unfair to Hegel. And how much the subversions of convention of pomo become themselves conventions. Such issues, of course, are self-consciously taken up by the writers above.
I would also like to supplement the readings with a number of movies: You're a Big Boy Now (early Coppolla); Easy Rider (mostly for the Nicholson scene); and The Draughtsman's Contract
Texts: West, The Day of the Locust; Nabokov. Pale Fire; Heller, Catch 22; Barthelme, Sixty Stories; Barth, Lost in the Funhouse; Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49; Gass, Willie Masters' Lonesome Wife; DeLillo, White Noise; Coover, Pricksongs and Descants; Roth, The Counter Life; Ozick, The Puttermesser Papers; Sontag, I, Etcetera