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Writing Manhood: Hemingway & His Progeny
UC Berkeley
Spring 2021

Description




Syllabus

Writing Manhood

Hemingway & His Progeny

English 166, Tuesdays & Thursdays, 11 to 1230

Mark Danner

mark@markdanner.com

 

Difficult to point to a more foundational American writer than Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway embodied a kind of balls-to-the-wall masculine energy that dominated American modernist fiction for decades of war and conflict. For more than fifty years the ideal of manhood in American media and culture was as Hemingway described it: taciturn, bellicose, neurotic and given to the heroic killing of people and animals. In this class we will explore the major works of this essential American writer and seek to understand, with unflinching candor, what makes his work go on living, as dream or as nightmare, for readers and writers. For answers, we will look to the work of Hemingway’s epigones (whether or not they would welcome the title), from James Salter to Chester Himes, from Raymond Carver to Cormac McCarthy, from Joan Didion to Lorrie Moore.

 

 

Warning: Some books in this course contain words – including racial and ethnic slurs -- that are offensive. We will be discussing this issue in class but please be prepared for this in your reading.

 

 

Course Reader Ryan Lackey is our course reader. He will be having office hours and can be reached at rlackey@berkeley.edu

 

Link to office hours signup: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1PxjN9w7hRmA2fZ6GgxBQqnEBTrpbB4wHnxM3KPJG1xY/edit?usp=sharing

Link to presentation signups: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1he8FIVu_8TfEV42MppQzNffHq00xYw3Yyapwz8OJSNA/edit?usp=sharing

Link to films: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/17n_sikM_2NeixDbB2D1TYRMgJ5qz4lW-?usp=sharing

 

 

Class Requirements This class will be a mixture of lectures and discussion, backed up by a large amount of reading, and some writing. The most important requirements are that students

 

*Attend all class sessions

*Keep up with reading and writing assignments

*Participate in discussions

*Offer a class presentation, in collaboration with one or two colleagues

*Complete one five-page midterm paper and one ten-page final paper

 

 

A student’s record of attendance and participation in class discussion, together with the quality of his or her writing, will determine the success of our class and contribute the better part of the grade.

 

 

Schedule Note that all classes will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11 am via Zoom.

 

Zoom meeting links:

         Tuesday: https://berkeley.zoom.us/j/95901508677?pwd=aGQ0c0dXanBBZFFzTWZaM0xQZGZrQT09

Meeting ID: 959 0150 8677

Passcode: 172796

         Thursday:

https://berkeley.zoom.us/j/99246892833?pwd=OGVHb2o1ZlkwMjBHOHp3a1p5ZWwrdz09

Meeting ID: 992 4689 2833

Passcode: 172796

 

Reading Our primary reading will draw on a series of novels and memoirs by Hemingway and other writers. They are listed below under Required Texts. I strongly urge you to obtain these books in your own copies and in the edition specified either from local bookstores or from online suppliers, so that you will be able to highlight and annotate them and that during discussions we will all be “on the same page.”

 

Favorite Passages Always come to class with a favorite passage of a paragraph or two drawn from that class’s reading. Be prepared to read the passage out loud and say a few words about why you chose it.

 

Writing and Final Exam There will be two papers required in this class, a short analytic (or, possibly creative) paper and a longer final paper. The short paper is due March 18, the final paper is due April 29.

      To bolster the clarity and vigor of your English prose, I strongly suggest studying two works: George Orwell’s essay, “Politics and the English Language,” which can be readily found on the web, and Strunk and White’s little manual, The Elements of Style.

 

 

Class Presentation. Every student will be required to do a class presentation in collaboration with one or two other students. The presentations should last ten to fifteen minutes and take up some subject ancillary to the class, having to do with Hemingway, his era, masculinity or all of those. Use of images and video is strongly encouraged.

 

 

 

Office Hours I will want to meet individually with each of you at least once during the semester, either via Zoom or in a socially distanced in-person meeting. We will begin to schedule these a month or so into the semester. Note that our course reader, Ryan Lackey -- rlackey@berkeley.edu -- will also be available to meet with students and he will announce his schedule.

 

Films Hemingway’s work has been made into a number of films, including several remarkable ones. I have listed these below. We will hope to take note of these films during the semester.

 

 

Grading Students will be graded on their preparedness and their participation in class, the strength of their presentations and the quality of their written work, as follows:

 

Attendance          25 percent

Participation        25 percent

Papers                25 percent

Presentation       25 percent

 

 

 

 

 

Required Texts

 

Raymond Carver, Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? (Vintage, 2010 [1976])

 

Joan Didion, Play It as It Lays (Farrar Straus, 2005 [1970])

 

Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon (Vintage, 1992 [1930])

 

Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time (Scribner, 1995 [1925])

 

Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises (Scribner, 2016 [1926])

 

Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms (Scribner, 2014 [1929])

 

Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls (Scribner, 2019 [1940])

 

Ernest Hemingway, The Complete Short Stories (Scribner, 1998)

 

Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and The Sea (Scribner, 1995 [1962])

 

Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition (Scribner, 2010 [1964])

 

Ernest Hemingway, The Garden of Eden (Scribner, 1995 [1986])

 

Chester Himes, If He Hollers, Let Him Go (Thunders Mouth, 2002 [1947])

 

Denis Johnson, Train Dreams: A Novella (Picador, 2012)

 

Cormac McCarthy, The Road (Vintage, 2006)

 

Lorrie Moore, Birds of America: Stories (Vintage, 2010)

 

James Salter, The Hunters: A Novel (Vintage, 1999 [1956])

 

 

Films

 

The Maltese Falcon (1941)

 

The Killers (1946)

 

 

 

Recommended Reading

 

Raymond Chandler,  "The Simple Art of Murder" (1950) http://www.en.utexas.edu/Classes/Bremen/e316k/316kprivate/scans/chandlerart.html

 

Diane Johnson, Dashiell Hammett: Man of Mystery (2014).

https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781611457841

 

 

 

Tentative Syllabus

 

 

January 19 – Introduction to Course. Hemingway’s words. Where He Came From. Modernism. On the Evolution of Masculinity. Reading Novels. On the plan of the course. Writing assignments.

 

January 21Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time (Scribner, 1995 [1925])

 

 

January 26Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time (Scribner, 1995 [1925])

 

January 28Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time (Scribner, 1995 [1925]) and additional stories from The Complete Short Stories (Scribner, 1998):

 

"The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber"

"The Snows of Kilimanjaro"

"Up in Michigan"

"The Undefeated"

"In Another Country"

"The Killers"

"Now I Lay Me"

"A Clean Well Lighted Place"

"A Way You'll Never Be"

"A Natural History of the Dead"

"Fathers and Sons"

 

 

 

February 2 -- Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition (Scribner, 2010 [1964])

 

February 4 -- Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition

(Scribner, 2010 [1964])

 

 

February 9 -- Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises (Scribner, 2016 [1926])

 

February 11 -- Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises (Scribner, 2016 [1926])

 

 

February 16 -- Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms (Scribner, 2014 [1929])

 

February 18 -- Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms (Scribner, 2014 [1929])

 

 

February 23 – Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon (Vintage, 1992 [1930])

 

 

February 25 -- Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon (Vintage, 1992 [1930])

 

Claudia Roth Pierpont, "Tough Guy: The Mystery of Dashiell Hammett," The New Yorker, Feb. 4, 2002. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2002/02/11/tough-guy

 

 

 

 

March 2 -- Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls (Scribner, 2019 [1940])

 

March 4 -- Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls (Scribner, 2019 [1940])

 

 

March 9 – James Salter, The Hunters: A Novel (Vintage, 1999 [1956])

 

March 11-- James Salter, The Hunters: A Novel (Vintage, 1999 [1956])

 

 

March 16 -- Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and The Sea (Scribner, 1995 [1962])

 

March 18 -- Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and The Sea (Scribner, 1995 [1962])

 

**Short paper due (4 to 5 pages)

 

 

March 23 – Spring Vacation (No Class)

 

March 25 – Spring Vacation (No Class)

 

 

March 30 -- Ernest Hemingway, The Garden of Eden (Scribner, 1995 [1986])

 

April 1 -- Ernest Hemingway, The Garden of Eden (Scribner, 1995 [1986])

 

 

April 6 – Chester Himes, If He Hollers, Let Him Go (Thunders Mouth, 2002 [1947])

 

April 8 -- Chester Himes, If He Hollers, Let Him Go (Thunders Mouth, 2002 [1947])

 

 

April 13 -- Joan Didion, Play It as It Lays (Farrar Straus, 2005 [1970])

 

April 15 -- Joan Didion, Play It as It Lays (Farrar Straus, 2005 [1970])

 

 

April 20 -- Raymond Carver, Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? (Vintage, 2010 [1976])

 

April 22 -- Lorrie Moore, Birds of America: Stories (Vintage, 2010)

 

 

April 27 -- Cormac McCarthy, The Road (Vintage, 2006)

 

April 29 -- Denis Johnson, Train Dreams: A Novella (Picador, 2012)

 

 

**Final paper due, 8 to 10 pages

 

 

 

 



© 2021 Mark Danner