William Carlos Williams : Three Novels | Osher Lifelong Learning Institute | University of Miami

William Carlos Williams : Three Novels

OSH 300 / Non Credit
Course taught in: English
Locations: TBA
Instructor: George Wendell

Course Description

We will study three novels by William Carlos Williams, an imagist poet, and seminal literary figure during the amazing years of 1910-1960. He had two lives, one as a pediatrician who delivered some 800 babies during his career, the other as a canonical American writer. William Carlos Williams breathes life into the plight of the average person. He brings to literature his experiences as a doctor and caretaker of many who could not even afford to pay their bills.

We will read and discuss the Stecher trilogy, which is composed of three ‘semi-autobiographical’ novels: White Mule (1937), In the Money (1940), and The Build-Up (1952). These chronicle the life of the family of Joe and Gurlie Stecher and their pursuit of the American dream. We will consider Williams' distrust of authority that Joe finds himself confronting throughout the texts. We will also look at the intersubjectivity that racial, ethnic, gender and economic identities and differences share in the three texts. Additionally, We will consider about Williams' probing of class and money with the character of Gurlie.

The three novels will be REQUIRED READING. These books are available for purchase on Amazon from New Directions his publisher. New or used. The following are some other works that we may consider if we finish early: The Knife of the Times, and Other Stories (1932), Life along the Passaic River (1938) - Short Stories, Make Light of It: Collected Stories (1950), The Farmers' Daughters: Collected Stories (1961). 

Mr. George Wendell graduated from UMass with a BA in Classical studies and nine upper-level English classes. He then graduated from the University of Toronto with an MA degree in Classical Studies. After retiring from a career in financial sales he has been a member of OLLI since September 2014, and a class facilitator (Writers’ Workshop) this past session. He brings a deep appreciation and knowledge of literature to OLLI and hopes to find ways to share his passion with classmates. Other interests include literary theory and criticism, linguistics, and playing the piano (mainly jazz).

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