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11. John Barth, Lost in the Funhouse

The American Novel Since 1945 (ENGL 291) In her lecture on John Barth's collection of stories Lost in the Funhouse, Professor Amy Hungerford delves beyond the superficial pleasures and frustrations of Barth's oft-cited metafictional masterwork to illuminate the profound commitment to language that his narrative risks entail. Foremost among Barth's concerns, Hungerford argues, is the multi-faceted relationship between language and love. Desire can drive a narrative, or disrupt it. Language can create desire, or replace it. Unifying the virtuosic variety of his tales is Barth's inquiry: Does language always stand in for a loss of bodily presence? Must the written word always exist as the shadow of the oral? 00:00 - Chapter 1. Barth, the Teacher 10:00 - Chapter 2. The Modernist Ambition in 'Night-Sea Journey' 25:27 - Chapter 3. Alienation and Desire 42:05 - Chapter 4. The Power of Voice Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: This course was recorded in Spring 2008.
Length: 49:11


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