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Pitzer College    
  Jan 18, 2018
2016-2017 Pitzer Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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FS 003 PZ -Reality Hunger*

Institution: Pitzer

Description: “Art is not truth; art is a lie that enables us to recognize truth”-writes novelist David Shields in Reality Hunger, a tour-de-force manifesto composed largely from plagiarized sources, including work by Picasso, the original author of this quote. Yet if art is artifice, why do we continue to expect sincerity from writers? What does the growing cultural interest in the “real”-from the rise of the memoir to the ubiquity of reality t.v.-tell us about our expectations about the truthfulness of stories? In this seminar, we explore our vexed relationship with the real by analyzing its close affinity with deception. We begin by reading cultural works that both harness and poke fun at our expectations, including novelist Lorrie Moore’s fake instructions “How to Become a Writer” and poet August Kleinzahler’s writings about being raised by the family dog. We’ll then pen essays about our own life stories, testing our versions of the truth against academic theories about the slipperiness of language and memory. Next we’ll use writings about deception to analyze Brian Lerner’s Leaving the Atocha Station, a novella based on a troubled Fulbright Fellow who travels to Spain to become a “real” poet. For the final paper, students write op-eds about any topic related to our culture’s obsession with the “real.” [A. Scott, Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures]

Prerequisite(s): First-Year Seminars are required for all incoming freshman and do not have prerequisites.

Note(s): *This course includes an additional required hour of “global-local” programming each week.

First-Year seminars are not listed on the course schedule. Incoming students will be assigned to a first-year seminar and registered automatically.

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