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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Lifelong Learning (LLC)

Undergraduate Course: The Unreliable Narrator 2 (LLLG07091)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 7 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryWayne C. Booth first identified the difference between a reliable and unreliable narrator as part of his reader-centred approach to critical thinking in the 1960s. The unreliable narrator has, however, been around for a great deal longer than that in literature. We will study a number of examples of the unreliable narrator from a number of different genres including the Gothic short story, a ghost novella, a dystopian novel and a realist novel set at the time of the Glasgow International Exhibition of 1888. Our discussions will turn on how the reader builds a relationship with an unreliable narrator and whether or not our bond of trust with our touchstone in a novel is finally compromised by their unreliability.
Course description The Unreliable Narrator 2 explores the relationship between the reader and the narrator and how potential unreliability on the part of the narrator affects that relationship. The course allows students the opportunity to consider the different ways in which writers can suggest unreliability as well as the structural and stylistic devices which support it.
Week 1: Poe's Gothic first-person narrators: Seeing inside the criminal mind
Text: Edgar Allan Poe: 'The Tell-Tale Heart', 'The Black Cat' and 'Berenice'.

Week 2: 'A slight hysterical tendency' Charlotte Perkins Gilman¿s mad woman in the yellow room.
Text: Charlotte Perkins Gilman: 'he Yellow Wallpaper'

Week 3 and Week 4: Nick Carraway: 'ne of the few honest people I have ever known'
Text: F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby.

Week 5 and Week 6: Covering up a murder? The second Mrs de Winter and her unreliable narrators.
Text: Daphne du Maurier: Rebecca.

Week 7 and Week 8: 'My name is Kathy H' Flawed memory in Never Let Me Go.
Text: Kazuo Ishiguro: Never Let Me Go.

Week 9 and Week 10: 'However, ere long, I began to see beneath the façade': Harriet Baxter, the artist and the madness.
Text: Jane Harris: Gillespie and I.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2015/16, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  16
Course Start Lifelong Learning - Session 3
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 98 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) one 2000 word essay submitted after teaching finishes, worth 100% of the mark.
Feedback In addition to thorough written feedback on the final essay, students are given the opportunity to submit a formative practice essay of 1000 words in Week 5. Feedback is returned in Week 6. Students also have the opportunity to receive feedback on an essay plan, submitted in Week 9. Feedback is given on the plan in Week 10.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. show confidence in discussing texts
  2. display analytical approach to close reading;
  3. place literature in its historical, social and political context
  4. demonstrate understanding of various ways in which authors use an unreliable narrator to inject suspense and offer alternative viewpoints on events
Reading List
Poe, Edgar Allan, 2008. Selected Tales. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins, 2000. The Yellow Wallpaper. New York: Dover Thrift.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott, 2001. The Great Gatsby. Ware: Wordsworth editions.
Du Maurier, Daphne, 2004. Rebecca. London: Virago.
Ishiguro, Kazuo, 2005. Never Let Me Go. London: Faber and Faber.
Harris, Jane, 2012. Gillespie and I. London: Faber and Faber.
Mullan, John, 2008. How Novels Work. Oxford: OUP.
Booth, Wayne C, 1995. The Rhetoric of Fiction. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Olson, Greta, 2003. Reconsidering Unreliability: Fallible and Untrustworthy Narrators. Narrative. 11(1), p. 93.
Rabinowitz, Peter J., 1977. Truth in Fiction: A Reexamination of Audiences. Critical Inquiry. 4(1), p. 121.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMs Rachael King
Course secretaryMrs Diane Mcmillan
Tel: (0131 6)50 6912
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