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Lec 22 - Edward P. Jones, The Known World

The American Novel Since 1945 (ENGL 291) In the first of her two lectures on Edward P. Jones's The Known World, Professor Hungerford begins from the novel's title, asking what counts as knowledge in the novel and why knowledge is central to the story. This leads to related questions: who is a knower, and what can be known? Highlighting several different versions of how knowledge of the past is communicated through storytelling within the novel, she draws distinctions between Jones's model of historical knowledge and that of other writers on the syllabus. Professor Hungerford suggests that Jones revives a nineteenth-century form of the novel when his narrator takes on a God-like omniscience, but unlike the nineteenth-century novel's narrators, Jones's omniscient narrator provides little in the way of God-like consolation. 00:00 - Chapter 1. Initial Student Reactions: The Known World in the Wake of Morrison 06:31 - Chapter 2. A Historical Novel: Reactions to Postmodern Historical Theory 17:09 - Chapter 3. Threadlike Narratives and the Grand Tapestry: Modes of Telling Truth 34:19 - Chapter 4. The Question of Knowing: A Syllabus Retrospective 39:59 - Chapter 5. Jones's Anti-modernist Return to an Omniscient Narrator Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses This course was recorded in Spring 2008.

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