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2006 Fellows seminar notes

This page is an archive.

Fellows

Reading schedule

selections to read for March 13:

essays to read for April 3:

Papers and other requirements

Position papers

You will write a response to the readings every week (well, you may skip just one). These are informal "position papers." They are to be between 400 and 500 words in length and must be sent to the Fellows listserv any time before 6 AM on the Monday morning of the week's class. Four of these papers will be evaluated closely--at least one each on Ford, Ozick and Frazier. Each week, bring a printed copy of your position paper to class. At the end of class you can decide if the paper you hold in your hands is one of the four you will turn in for evaluation.

Listserv responses

Each week you will be responding to one of the position papers sent to the listserv by your fellow Fellows seminarians. Send your response before noon. Your response should be sent to the listserv and should make a rejoinder to one point in one paper. These responses should be one short paragraph in length, about 100 words. Be sure, please, to make it clear which point in which person's position paper is the one to which your response is responding.

Projects

A special project will be randomly assigned to you. These, too, should be sent to the listserv--any time before 6 AM on the date indicate on the projects list above. Length: whatever is appropriate for fulfilling the purpose of the project but no less than 750 words. These need not be fancy or high-toned, but, rather, straightforward and lucid and, if apt, organized into short titled sections to make for easy reading. If you are not assigned a project, see Al or Jamie-Lee ASAP so that we can devise one.

Obligations during Fellows' visits

As an absolutely vital part of the Fellows seminar, you will be called upon to volunteer during the two-day visits of the Fellows. Fulfilling this (mostly pleasurable) function is as much a requirement as the others listed here. If Jamie-Lee Josselyn has not asked you to take on a role during the visits, be sure to ask her what you can do to help.

Final exam

There will be a wildly comprehensive, personalized final exam. It will be sent to you by email, to be written at your convenience ("take home") any time during the exam period.

Projects

  1. In Ford's Independence Day, Ralph Waldo Emerson appears here and there. For one thing (of several), Frank's son brings Self-Reliance on their driving trip. Why? What does Self-Reliance--what does Emerson generally--have to do in general with Independence Day? Obviously this project will entail reading or re-reading at least some Emerson. (due Jan 30) ALLISON
  2. Get Ford's email address from Jamie-Lee and very carefully/conscientiously "interview" him by email. Do not email him until you've consulted with me and Jamie-Lee about the specific focus of your inquiry. You should choose a topic or set a questions or a theme to ask him about. (due Feb 6) BEN
  3. Read Ford's The Sportswriter along with Independence Day and write a detailed report that will teach us the many connections and continuities between the two books. Be very specific. (due Jan 30) JOHN
  4. Predict in detail what will happen in the third novel of the Frank Bascombe trilogy. This entails characters, the narrator/narration, style and tone, overaching symbol or allegorical structure, and setting (place but also time and season). (due Jan 30) MIKE
  5. In addition to his novels and short stories, Ford has published a number of reviews, commentaries, short essays, article-length memoirs. Please find as many of these as possible and prepare a report that will summarize these clearly for us (and create a bibliography as best you can). Work with Jamie-Lee to make photocopies for all of us of a few short pieces that you think we should see--perhaps because they are just so compellingly written, or perhaps because they are relevant to our discussions. (due Jan 23) LAUREN
  6. Read all the stories in Women with Men and write for us a report on them. Organize the report in whatever way seems appropriate, but keep in mind that you are not trying to be fancy here; rather, you are trying to help us learn about a book that most of us will not have read before we meet Ford. Please also recommend for us two or three stories that you think we must read--which are most particularly relevant to our discussions of Ford's other work. (due Feb 6) JANINE
  7. Read Ford's first novel, A Piece of My Heart, and write for us a report on them. Organize the report in whatever way seems appropriate, but keep in mind that you are not trying to be fancy here; rather, you are trying to help us learn about a book that most of us will not have read before we meet Ford. (due Feb 6) NARGUS
  8. Spend at least an hour with Max Apple, talking with him about Cynthia Ozick: her life, her writing, her writing process, her personality, her response to students or university settings.... Get as much as you can from Max. You can tell him what he says will be treated confidentially--that is, shared among us but not beyond. Write up a report that will convey to us Max's sense of Ozick as a person(ality) and writer. (due Feb 20) YONA
  9. Read as much as you can about the tradition of the golem, and write a report on this background. That's part one of your project. In part two, relate the golem tradition very specifically to Ozick's Puttermesser Papers. What is she doing with this tradition? Why do you think she uses it? What are some other instances of modern/contemporary/experimental versions of the golem? Compare these to Ozick. (due Feb 20) ELLIE
  10. Read a biography of George Eliot and also whatever other materials are available from or about the relationship between George Eliot and George Hewes (and John Cross). Carefully and in detail, compare this historical biographical-literary material with Ozick's use of it in The Puttermesser Papers. Judging from the point of view of the reader-critic who accurately knows the historical background, what would you say is Ozick's purpose in fashioning this material for her Ruth Puttermesser? (due Feb 20) BILL
  11. Read Ozick's The Messiah of Stockholm (a novel) and write for us a report on it. Organize the report in whatever way seems appropriate, but keep in mind that you are not trying to be fancy here; rather, you are trying to help us learn about a book that most of us will not have read before we meet Ozick. (due Mar 13) GORDON
  12. Read Ozick's The Cannibal Galaxy (a novel) and write for us a report on it. Organize the report in whatever way seems appropriate, but keep in mind that you are not trying to be fancy here; rather, you are trying to help us learn about a book that most of us will not have read before we meet Ozick. In a special section of your report, take the whole large issue of art, aesthetics and creativity (as perhaps distinct from intellectuality and reason) raised in this novel and apply it, as best you can, to the way these issues are raised in other Ozick writings we've read for class. (due Mar 13) MATT
  13. Read whatever you can find that has been written about Ozick's long story "Envy; or, Yiddish in America": reviews, critical essays, passages in books or articles about Ozick, etc. Find it all! Summarize this for us in a way that is very clear and straighforward. The key here is to help us decide if the famous/succesful Yiddish writer in the story is modeled on a real-life writer. Is he? If so, who? Track down this suggestion/these suggestions and teach us about this real-life model for the character. And if there is a real-life model, what do you think Ozick is trying to say about that kind of writer by way of this story? (due Jan 16) KERRY
  14. What was the critical response to Ozick's The Shawl? Consult reviews especially--but also articles about Ozick's work generally that include passages about The Shawl, chapters in books about Ozick, etc. Give a clear (and clearly organized) summary of a representive ranges of responses. (due Jan 16) GORDON
  15. Read Frazier's Family and write for us a report on it. Organize the report in whatever way seems appropriate, but keep in mind that you are not trying to be fancy here; rather, you are trying to help us learn about a book that most of us will not have read before we meet Frazier. (due Apr 10) JON
  16. Read Frazier's Coyote v. Acme and write for us a report on it. Organize the report in whatever way seems appropriate, but keep in mind that you are not trying to be fancy here; rather, you are trying to help us learn about a book that most of us will not have read before we meet Frazier. (due Apr 3) KARI
  17. Read Frazier's Nobody Better, Better Than Nobody and write for us a report on it. Organize the report in whatever way seems appropriate, but keep in mind that you are not trying to be fancy here; rather, you are trying to help us learn about a book that most of us will not have read before we meet Frazier. (due Apr 3) DREW
  18. Look carefully through the contents pages of Coyote v. Acme, Nobody Better, Better Than Nobody, The Fish's Eye and Gone to New York, making sure you have a very accurate list of the essays/short pieces Frazier has now published in books. These are all pieces he originally wrote and published in magazines, especially (but not only The New Yorker. Now search very very assiduously for the short pieces Fraizer has published that have not yet been published in books. Obviously this will include some very recent pieces. But also some older ones. Find these, make copies of them, and read them all. Make a bibliography for us. Write a report that (in a very organized, easy-to-read way) summarizes these essays and pieces. A choose one or two that are so good that you think we should all read them ourselves before meeting Frazier. Work with Jamie-Lee to have these photocopied for us. (for two people; due Apr 3) JAMIE & GABE

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