26 October 2006

Seminar in Contemporary Fiction

I'm thinking through what I'll teach in my spring grad seminar in contemporary fiction. My department's felt--up til now--that the course should introduce students to a variety of texts from 1945 to present, and that this variety should let them taste some realism, some minimalism, some postmodernism, some feminist literature, etc. Pretty standard, from what I've seen.

Certainly I want my students (mostly our creative writing MAs) to sample a range of texts. I feel they need this.

On the other hand, as I wrote in a recent email to Cam Tatham, I also feel that contemporary literature can no longer, in any context, mean post-1945, and I'm leaning toward thinking it doesn't even have to involve the 60s-80s.

And I don't feel like it's terribly contemporary unless it's in some ways innovative.

But I worry that I'm narrowing my students' views too greatly if I have a syllabus made up of Carole Maso and Lance Olsen and Kass Fleisher and Steve Tomasula and Shelley Jackson and Lidia Yuknavitch (my list to this point).