ONLINE: This course will focus on a close reading and discussion of Philip Roth's magisterial work "American Pastoral," for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1998. Active input from students is encouraged. In advance of each week's reading assignment, the instructor will send students a list of questions to be considered in class. Students will also study selected passages during class. The expectation is that students will learn to analyze this novel in depth. They will examine how an affluent family ensconced in traditional American values during the turbulent 1960s unravels, and the tragic consequences of this unraveling. They will be asked to express opinions on whether this is great literature by asking themselves questions such as: Do the characters and story ring true? Do the emotions the novel elicits feel real, or manipulated? Does the novel lend itself to different interpretations that, despite their differences, remain valid? Does it deserve to be read multiple times? | Facilitated discussion.
Max enrollment: 25.
Jay Miller is an admirer of the works of Philip Roth. He taught a course on Roth's "The Human Stain" at OLLI at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, as well as six courses on novels by William Faulkner. He has previously led two OLLI at Duke courses, one on Faulkner's "Light in August" and the other on works by Peter Taylor. Miller is a graduate of Duke and a semiretired tax attorney. He recently completed a four-year Great Books program at the University of Chicago.