Course Description: Succession, Continuity, and Intertextuality
Succession, related to a precedent, not imitation, is the correct expression for any influence that the products of an exemplary author can have on others.
Any text is constructed as a mosaic of quotations; any text is the absorptions and transformation of another.
There were (and are) schools of thought that regard the meaning of a text deriving from an interaction between the reader and the text itself. Although a valid claim, in this course, we will focus our attention away from this solitary relationship and will instead focus our attention on the interplay between texts, authors, and readers. To this end, we will read and examine a selection of texts that are either in succession to or in conversation with each other. We will consider how a literary text succeeds another and how we read (or can read) the influences of other texts on it. A primary question that will guide our reading, writing, and class discussions pertains to how our understanding of a literary text comes to being and is reshaped once the text is introduced within a constellation.
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Light in August by William Faulkner
The Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
(Available at the University Bookstore under C Lit 240A)