This week marked my first week of Fall term in my graduate program. From here on out, it’s likely that Friday Reads will deal almost entirely with assigned reading. I’m hoping I’ll get to sneak a few leisure reads into my schedule here and there, but between course assignments and that new No Man’s Sky update I still need to check out for myself, I may not get much leisure reading done before Christmas break.
I’m taking two classes again this term: Literary Theory and African-American Literature. I’m pumped about this term, and the readings are just the beginning. This is only the second semester at MSU that I’ve needed actual textbooks; and the first time, I only needed one for a single class. This time, both courses required textbooks, so if you run across something in a #fridayreads post that you’d like to read for yourself, just be advised that the cost of playing along is a bit higher this time. With that said, this week’s Friday Reads!
- Dracula. We’re using a very specific edition of the text for this class, because this one includes several chapters of literary criticism from various schools. I’m about two-thirds of the way through, and I’ve been really enjoying the footnotes this edition includes. I’ve already gotten a lot more out of this reading than my previous readings of the novel, though it’s only cemented my feelings about the work; it is, without a doubt, my favorite novel.
- Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, excerpted in The Norton Anthology of African-American Literature, Vol. 1. While I do own a copy of Douglass’ entire autobiography, I have yet to sit down and read it. I had heard of but never encountered Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents, and the excerpts included in this anthology were heartbreaking and awe-inspiring. I’d like to point out that I’m in my late 20s and had never read either of these works, and I find that inexcusable. We should be learning about the horrors and injustices of slavery from the people who endured it, escaped it, and worked to end it, rather than from the perspectives of people who enabled and profited from it. It shouldn’t take a graduate course in Literature to expose American students to the grim realities of our nation’s past. I would encourage you to seek out these two works specifically, which can be found as independent novels, as well as slave narratives in general.