ON A SEPARATE CONTINENT: THE “ISOLATO” IN AMERICAN LITERATURE (REMOTE)

Instructor(s)
Shelley Bloomfield
Instructor of Lifelong Learning
Location
Online
Date
Wednesdays, January 18–February 22
Time
3–4:30 p.m. ET

From its early days, our national literature has explored and extolled the possibilities of the individual – adventurer, sinner, titan, devil. The hero that pervades our American stories can be any of these characters, finally achieving near-mythic stature. But what about the loner, the alienated figure that shows up mid-nineteenth century, what Melville terms the “isolato?” Who is this new character? Where has it come from, and why? We will read six great examples of the isolato across a century of American short stories. We’ll discuss whether alienation is a natural state, or one of exile from the community. What are the internal and external pressures that keep that isolated individual from rejoining the community? Are alienation and isolation more than a modern phenomenon? What about the “isolato” feels uniquely American?

Read: Bartelby, The Scrivener, Herman Melville; The Beast in the Jungle, Henry James; A Rose for Emily, William Faulkner; Pale Horse, Pale Rider, Katherine Anne Porter; A Perfect Day for Bananafish, J.D. Salinger; Sonny’s Blues, James Baldwin
 

This course is offered with the generous support of the Association for Continuing Education.

Member of Lifelong Learning Cost
$80
Nonmember Cost
$96