Postmodern Fiction, Fall 2015
ENG 6/76501-010
Independent Study
Postmodern Fiction
Video and Audio Clips
Lecture on Thomas Pynchon 

Charles Jenks (Architecture)

This course will focus on the works of major American postmodernist authors and our interaction with these texts as informed by the latest theoretical explanations of the postmodern condition. Thus, we will attempt to understand both the literary texts as well as the theoretical debates about postmodernism itself and the role of postmodernist fiction in the world of high capitalism, globalization, and with reference to the resurgence of the state during the current global financial meltdown.

Required Texts

Hutcheon, Linda. A Poetics of Postmodernism
Postmodern Fiction: A Norton Anthology. New York: W. W Norton, 1998.
Pynchon,Thomas. The Crying of Lot 49.
Vonnegut, KurtSlaughterhouse Five.
Reed, IshmaelMumbo Jumbo.
Delilo, DonLibra.
Butler Octavia. Parable of the Talents.
Postmodernism: An Introduction.
Ihab Hassn–Toward a Concept of Postmodernism.
Terry Eagleton–The Contradictions of Postmodernism.
Regarding Postmodernism–A Conversation with Fredric Jameson.
J Habermas–Modernity: An Unfinished Project.
Suggested Texts 
McHale, Brian. Postmodernist Fiction
Lyotard–The Postmodern Condition.
Course Policies and Requirements: 

You are expected to come prepared for class: This involves reading the assigned texts, listening carefully to your peers, and contributing your views in a collegiate and stimulating way. Attendance is mandatory. 

Distribution of Points: 

Presentation 200 Points 

Mid-Term  200 Points

Online Journal responses 200 Points.
Participation 100 Points 

Term Paper 300 Points 

Total 1000 Points 


Response Journals:
Every week you will post your response to the readings on the discussion thread provided on the course website. To be able to do this you must create a user name on the website (; you will share this user name with me for me to be able to keep a record of your postings. Your response must at least be 500 words.
During the first week you will choose a particular novel for your presentation. Your presentation will then fall in the week in which your chosen novel is scheduled for class discussion. I expect a 30-40 minutes FORMAL PRESENTATION using the insights provided by the secondary readings. You must also turn in a 3-5 page written brief of your presentation with a detailed list of your scholarly sources.  Following are some, but not all, questions you may consider: 
  • What does the text say about gender, race, ethnicity, class, nation, or power and what are your views about it?
  • Did you agree or disagree with the text’s politics? why?
  • What is the text critiquing?
  • How can we relate this text to contemporary realities?
  • Does this text raise the question of justice? If so, how and for whom?
  • Does the text provide a politics for a better future?
Mid-Term Exam: 
The Mid-term will be an in-class essay exam administered in the third week.
Class Participation: 
As this is a seminar based on a discussion format, your thoughtful participation is essential to the success of the class. I encourage collegiate, open, and thought-provoking class discussions. Remember, we are all here to learn, so let us share our ideas and knowledge to make this class into a dynamic learning experience. 

Term Paper: 
The final term paper will be due on the last day of class. The paper should be 15-20 pages, with a clearly defined thesis and a coherent argument. I would encourage you to choose your topic early and do extensive research. I will be available to assist during all stages of your research and composition process.      

You are expected to attend the class regularly. You will be in the danger of failing the course if you miss more than THREE class sessions.

Cheating and Plagiarism:
(Excerpt from the University’s Administrative policy and procedures regarding student cheating and plagiarism. Excerpted from University Policy Register #3342-3-07)
University Policy 3342-3-01.3 requires that students with disabilities be provided reasonable accommodations to ensure their equal access to course content. If you have a documented disability and require accommodations, please contact the instructor at the beginning of the semester to make arrangements for necessary classroom adjustments. Please note, you must first verify your eligibility for these through Student Accessibility Services (contact 330-672-3391 or visit for more information on registration procedures). 

Grading Scale: 
A 950-1000 
A- 900-949

B+ 860-899 
B 830-859 
B- 800-829 
C+ 760-799 
C 739-759 
C- 700-729 
D+ 660-699 
D 630-659 
D- 600-629 
F Less than 600 Points