|Semester and Year||FA 2010|
|Time||2:00 PM - 3:15 PM|
“New York was an inexhaustible space, a labyrinth of endless steps, and no matter how far he walked, no matter how well he came to know its neighborhoods and streets, it always left him with the feeling of being lost. Lost, not only in the city, but within himself as well.” Describing his protagonist’s relationship to New York in his novel City of Glass , Paul Auster articulates the way in which the city has frequently been the location of a search for the self. From the great wave of immigration in the early twentieth century all the way through the end of the millennium, New York has beckoned as a site where people come to lose or rediscover themselves, the life unfolding within its “inexhaustible space” reflecting not only intense personal upheavals but also larger historical shifts. In this class, we will use our own writing to explore twentieth- and twenty-first-century narratives about New York, and to consider how individual experiences of the city intersect with broader historical conditions. Through regular informal writing as well as a series of finished essays, we will examine stories of how New York has inspired euphoria and dejection, contentment and restlessness, exhilarating feelings of belonging or unrelenting isolation. Authors we will read may include James, Wharton, Singer, Hurston, Baldwin, Kazin, Ellison, Didion, Auster, Alexander, and others.
First-Year Program: Writing Seminars (FIRST-UG)