It's been a while since we've heard about the Columbia class on political writing to be taught by the editors of n+1, which is the most important literary journal of our time. Now we've gotten our hands on the class description—and it turns out that Ben Kunkel and Co. will be teaching from... the magazine that they edit! (Or should we say, the magazine they write and don't edit. At all.)
This class will deal with how to write about ideas and politics in a way that is personal without necessarily being confessional. Along the way, we'll explore themes and conflicts raised by the first six issues of n+1 and its reception, and how these play out as matters of literary style. Topics to be discussed will include: What is it like to write in an information-saturated climate? How do you incorporate contemporary political conditions and ideas into fiction and how use techniques of fiction writing to make political arguments? We'll also debate whether certain stylistic modes-satire, irony, etc.-can have political meaning and whether or how that meaning changes historically. Finally we'll explore the politics and sociology of current literary practices in publishing, the universities, and New York itself. Classes will be organized around intense close-reading of short assignments from the magazine and elsewhere.