English 291ds. Disfluency and Style

Instructor: Marc Shell

Wednesdays, 2-4 pm | Location: Barker 269

This seminar focuses on works, including Hamlet and Billy Budd, where an inability to speak provides a motivating formal element as well as a substantial theme. The seminar considers such literary authors as Henry James and Lewis Carroll for whom their own more or less involuntary ways of stuttering becomes a style of writing or a larger philosophy.  Theoretical issues include the historical link between the terminology of linguistic neurology and classical rhetoric; aesthetic issues involve problems of rhythm, metrics, and silence in poetry.

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