English 9175A

The Man of the Crowd: Narrative, Social Forms, and the Political Unconscious from Poe to Pynchon

Professor Thomas Carmichael.
Fall Half Course.

This course situates itself at the conjuncture of two critical traditions. The first is the long tradition of left cultural discourse on the relationship between narrative and social forms that runs from the work of Lukacs, Brecht, and Althusser through that of Raymond Williams, Fredric Jameson and Franco Moretti. The second is the Americanist tradition of theorizing the citizen subject and the relationship of that subject to the logic of social and political collectives. This course will draw selectively upon a  range of narratives from Poe to Pynchon and into the twenty-first century. In addition to theorizing these texts, the course will also invite students to consider fictional narratives alongside foundational historical texts.