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The Genre Debate: Science Fiction Is the “Literature” of Ideas

ID : 1306   
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Many people distinguish between “literary” fiction and genres such as romance, detective, and science fiction, often claiming that literary fiction is better, more worth our time. Literary fiction concerns itself with grand human themes such as aesthetic, emotional, and spiritual transformation. It takes great care with its characters — the complexity of people and their paradoxical natures — the way they can hurt one another, and love one another, and suddenly come face-to-face with themselves. Literary prose, often with “poetic” characteristics, dramatizes and interprets life. Certainly, some science fiction falls far short of this mark. However, many famous “literary” authors such as Hawthorne, Forester, Atwood, and Ishiguro have made significant forays into the genre. Harold Bloom has listed The Left Hand of Darkness in the Western Canon, saying that “Le Guin, more than Tolkien, has raised fantasy into high literature, for our time”. Our study group will look at selected short stories in their historical context and examine how the genre has evolved. Using the rubric that science fiction is the literature of ideas, we will systematically challenge the idea that science fiction has little or no literary value. Text: Science Fiction, Compact Edition: Stories and Contexts by Heather Masri. (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2014), ISBN-13: 978-1457674464. New and used copies are available on Amazon or it can be rented through Macmillan Learning – click here.

Class Details

14 Sessions
Weekly - Thu

500 Davis Center

MultipleInstructor :
1.Robert Jenkins2.Philip Zawa 



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Schedule Information

Date(s) Class Days Times Location Instructor(s)
3/5/2020 - 6/4/2020 Weekly - Thu 1:15 PM - 3:15 PM Evanston, 500 Davis Center  Map Philip Zawa  ; Robert Jenkins