ENGL 126(F,S) Stupidity and Intelligence (W)

Stupidity fascinates authors, and they do not merely despise it-they feel it and make us feel it. Why? Around the same time that psychologists began measuring and ranking intelligence-and stupidity, under various names, of course occupied the space below (average) intelligence-literary authors were finding types of stupidity within intelligence. What is stupidity? Why can't it stay sequestered from intelligence? Is there such a thing as literary stupidity? (Can one be specifically a bad reader not only of books but of life?) What are the problems of intelligence? We shall be reading stories, novellas, novels, and plays by Melville, Poe, Henry James, Kafka, Borges, Stoppard, Faulkner, Flaubert, and others. Format: discussion/seminar. Requirements: active class participation, and five papers totaling 20 pages. No prerequisites. Enrollment limit: 19 per section (expected: 19 per section). Preference given to first-year students. Two sections.