In an interview Auster said that it’s best to read and learn from the works that have stood the test of time. But that would rule out all contemporary literature. Referring to any of the works we have stud-ied, in what ways can you say they will stand the test of time
1. Is Auster’s The Invention of Solitude told to us by one or many voices?
2. In an interview Auster said that it’s best to read and learn from the works that have stood the test of time. But that would rule out all contemporary literature. Referring to any of the works we have stud-ied, in what ways can you say they will stand the test of time?
3. The Rings of Saturn obviously includes a variety of material (experiences, stories, bits of Sebald’s reading, and so on). The Invention of Solitude is divided into two rather different parts. Yet, in differ-ent ways both books seem to achieve a sense of coherence and unity. How can we define or describe what holds these books together? Please write either on Sebald OR Auster.
4. Sebald and Auster are preoccupied with memory and story telling. What are the possibilities and the limits of memory and narrative in their books? Please think about how the act of remembering through narrative shapes each book. Please write on Sebald OR Auster.
5. Sebald’s puzzling inclusion of photographs has attracted much critical attention. Auster also works with images, but does not actually include them. Wallace can tell stories in both pictures and as texts. Please discuss the relationship between image and text in Sebald OR Auster OR Wallace. Or perhaps you would like to compare the different approaches of TWO writers? Please focus on 2-4 images in total.
6. Please discuss the genre of Alice Munro’s story “The View from Castle Rock”. Is it life writing or fiction? And what are the touching points between the two?
7. Alice Munro’s story “The View from Castle Rock” is both complete and potentially unfinished. Please discuss this with regard to the concept of the fragment. You might want to include postmodern and/or Romantic ideas of the fragment.
8. Michel de Certeau claims in The Practice of Everyday Life that our society has become a recited society and that we are defined by stories (186). Others refer to contemporary subjectivity in “per-formative” terms (Judith Butler). Looking at 1 or 2 texts that we have studied, identify and analyse the narrative means by which subjectivity is performed. Pay particular attention to voice, focalisation, as well as any other narrative techniques you have learned about during the semester.
9. Kathleen Kemarre Wallace addresses her reader with the words “listen deeply”. What does a work like hers require from the reader and what is the measure of success in this endeavour to listen deeply?
10. Indigenous narrative has been practised since humans first lived in this country, and Indigenous men and women have practised a western notion of textuality— the written word— almost since the days of first contact with Europeans. What do we mean by “narrative” that it can be thought of in such di-verse ways? Discuss in relation to 1 or 2 texts that we have studied in the subject.
11. Non-Indigenous readers are often puzzled and disoriented before Indigenous texts. Consider how you felt when you first encountered such a complex text as Kathleen Kemarre Wallace’s Listen Deeply. Were you able to “hear” the text? Were there parts that emerged for you, and others that re-mained opaque? Discuss with reference to two or more examples from the book. You may refer to the written words and/or the artwork, and/or the recording that accompanies the book.
12. The form and content of McCarthy’s novel seems to pull us in opposite directions, for while the his-torical content is necessarily retrospective, everything about its style is attempting to break new ground and is therefore forward-looking. Discuss.
13. “The ugly fact is that books are made out of books,” says McCarthy. To what extent is Blood Meridi-an an original contribution to American literature despite his claim?
14. Signs of destruction, decay, physical and moral corruption proliferate toward the end of The Map and the Territory, as well as throughout The Rings of Saturn and Blood Meridian. Is narrative in any way redemptive of the sort of problems it represents or do we simply love to read stories of destruction?
15. Postmodern theorist Jean Baudrillard claims that in contemporary society “the map precedes the terri-tory.” What might this precedence of the signifier over its referent mean for the future of narrative? Discuss in relation to The Map and the Territory.
16. Houellebecq descends into black humour when the Houellebecq figure in the novel is murdered and “atomised”. Considering Barthes’s account of “The Death of the Author,” what does Houellebecq’s novel have to say about artistic originality in our age?
17. A topic of your own choice – please consult with your tutor