Fictive Certainties


Fall 2013 and Winter 2014 quarters

Taught by

In this two-quarter program we will read contemporary fiction, poetry, and essays as well as several theoretical texts that pertain to our central inquiries: What kind of knowledge do we encounter in fiction and poetry? What is the relation between the artifice of form and the experience of truth? In what way is the factual (that which we take to be given) also artefactual (that which has been made)? By what powers and strategies do poetry and fiction convey truths?

Fall quarter will develop the coordinates of the inquiry via reading, writing, and visitors; winter extends the inquiry into our own writings. Required texts include poetry by modernists such as Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, and Gertrude Stein; and poetry and prose by Robert Duncan (from whom we take our course title) much of which was written in response to the generation of modernists who preceded him. The required texts are extremely diverse formally, but share overlapping preoccupations with memory and amnesia; metaphysics and transformation; realism and perception; and ethics and poetics.

Fall quarter will be reading-intensive and comprised of seminars on the required texts; a range of writing exercises aimed towards generating material; and opportunities to hear and dialogue with visiting writers. In this quarter students will learn literary critical vocabulary and close reading skills. Winter quarter will involve an extended writing project and intensive writing workshops in small groups in which we will utilize the skills learned in the first quarter towards critiquing and revising student writing.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

aesthetics, philosophy and writing.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


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Online Learning

No Required Online Learning: No access to web tools required. Any web tools provided are optional for students.


Date Revision
May 10th, 2013 Miranda Mellis will be teaching Narrative Strategies; enrollment has been adjusted.
December 19th, 2012 New program added.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Fall); 16 (Winter)

Class standing: Freshmen–Senior; 25% of the seats are reserved for freshmen

Maximum enrollment: 24


Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16 credits): 10123
So - Sr (16 credits): 10126

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Accepting New Students

Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16 credits): 20111
So - Sr (16 credits): 20112
(1-16 credits): 20631

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