English Csgj. Advanced Fiction Workshop: Rethinking the Basics

Instructor: Gish Jen
Monday, 12:00-2:45pm | Location: TBA
Enrollment: Limited to 12 students

We have, in America, a writing culture. It is not a monolith. There is, however, a readily discernable mainstream, which may or may not suit us. In this class we will examine the historical and intellectual roots of the contemporary Western story, especially as it is taught in MFA programs, including its close association with individualism. What have been its implications? Have they changed over time? Do even basic mainstream ideas about characterization and rising action serve, as some have contended, a nefarious agenda of cultural imperialism? Or is it simply at odds with the self dominant in most of the world? We will consider some radically different ideas about storytelling and the self, as well as how a more collectivistic sensibility has borne fruit for writers from Leo Tolstoy to Alice Munro to Kazuo Ishiguro. And we will workshop our own work in the light of all this—harnessing the power of the Western tradition if we like but seeking, finally, our own ways of moving the stars to pity.

Supplemental Application Information: TBA

Apply via Submittable (deadline TBA)