believermag:

Drawing by Josephine Demme
Fiction Seminar
Ben Marcus
Technologies of Heartbreak 
This seminar will examine how emotion is attempted and transmitted in fiction, the various ways readers are captured and made to care about a story.  Emotional effects—rapture, sympathy, desire, empathy, fascination, grief, repulsion—will be considered as techniques of language, enabled or muted by narrative context, acoustics, phrasing, and our own predispositions.  How can a sentence, a phrase, a paragraph cause us to feel things, and is a high degree of feeling akin to “liking” a book?  What is it to care about a character or the progress of a story, and how was that care installed in us?  What are the various kinds and sequences of sentences that, when placed in a narrative, can produce emotional engagement in a reader, affection or distraction, or is it impossible to isolate our reaction to a book in terms of its language?  The focus will be on some rhetorical strategies novelists and story writers have used to impart feeling, among them: concealment, indirection, revelation, confession, flat affect, irony, hyperbole, repetition, sentimentality, elusiveness, and sincerity.  A tentative book list follows. 
2/4 - Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
2/11 - Mrs. Bridge - Evan S. Connell
2/18 - Everything That Rises Must Converge - Flannery O’Connor2/25 - A Personal Matter - Kenzabarō Ōe
3/1 - Jernigan - David Gates3/4  - Housekeeping - Marilynne Robinson
3/11 - The Emigrants - W. G. Sebald3/25 -  Winesburg, Ohio - Sherwood Anderson 
4/1 - Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy
4/8 - The Fifth Child - Doris Lessing
4/22 - Two Serious Ladies - Jane Bowles
4/29 - The Sheltering Sky - Paul Bowles
5/6 - Correction - Thomas Bernhard
See an interview with Ben Marcus about the syllabus.

believermag:

Drawing by Josephine Demme

Fiction Seminar

Ben Marcus

Technologies of Heartbreak 

This seminar will examine how emotion is attempted and transmitted in fiction, the various ways readers are captured and made to care about a story.  Emotional effects—rapture, sympathy, desire, empathy, fascination, grief, repulsion—will be considered as techniques of language, enabled or muted by narrative context, acoustics, phrasing, and our own predispositions.  How can a sentence, a phrase, a paragraph cause us to feel things, and is a high degree of feeling akin to “liking” a book?  What is it to care about a character or the progress of a story, and how was that care installed in us?  What are the various kinds and sequences of sentences that, when placed in a narrative, can produce emotional engagement in a reader, affection or distraction, or is it impossible to isolate our reaction to a book in terms of its language?  The focus will be on some rhetorical strategies novelists and story writers have used to impart feeling, among them: concealment, indirection, revelation, confession, flat affect, irony, hyperbole, repetition, sentimentality, elusiveness, and sincerity.  A tentative book list follows. 

2/4 - Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates

2/11 - Mrs. Bridge - Evan S. Connell

2/18 - Everything That Rises Must Converge - Flannery O’Connor

2/25 - A Personal Matter - Kenzabarō Ōe

3/1 - Jernigan - David Gates

3/4  - Housekeeping - Marilynne Robinson

3/11 - The Emigrants - W. G. Sebald

3/25 -  Winesburg, Ohio - Sherwood Anderson 

4/1 - Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy

4/8 - The Fifth Child - Doris Lessing

4/22 - Two Serious Ladies - Jane Bowles

4/29 - The Sheltering Sky - Paul Bowles

5/6 - Correction - Thomas Bernhard

See an interview with Ben Marcus about the syllabus.

V. good vibes last night at the Whitehaus. 

(Source: bobschofield)

Figure, Jean Day, from A Young Recruit

Figure, Jean Day, from A Young Recruit

theparisreview:

Where did you go to, when you went away?
It is as if you step by step were going
Someplace elsewhere into some other range
Of speaking, that I had no gift for speaking,
Knowing nothing of the language of that place
To which you went with naked foot at night
Into the wilderness there elsewhere in the bed,
Elsewhere somewhere in the house beyond my seeking.
I have been so dislanguaged by what happened
I cannot speak the words that somewhere you
Maybe were speaking to others where you went.
Maybe they talk together where they are
Restlessly wandering, along the shore,
Waiting for a way to cross the river.

David Ferry, “That Now Are Wild and Do Not Remember”
Art Credit Roni Horn, Water