This course explores serial narrative as a contemporary mode of storytelling, from the emergence of the serialized novel in nineteenth-century Europe up through the multimedia serials of our own digital age. Working across centuries, media, and new technologies for delivery, we will investigate the enduring power of this versatile narrative form — in particular, 1) how serial narratives interweave fiction with familiar events and the shared rhythms of everyday life, and 2) how they address audiences shaped by cultural, social, and geographic differences. In a contemporary moment marked by anxieties about race, nationality, rising inequality, looming environmental crisis, and political partisanship, we will consider the potential of serial narratives, past as well as present, to bring diverse audiences together. We will also reflect actively on seriality in a final course assignment that takes the form of collaboratively created podcasts. Core texts include Wilkie Collins's The Woman in White (1859), Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment (1866) ,and True Detective, Season 1 (HBO, 2014). Occasional critical readings also suggested or assigned.
Cross-listed in English, REELL, and Comparative Literature.
All readings and discussions in English; no prerequisites.