Lecture 11 - John Barth, Lost in the Funhouse

author: Amy Hungerford, Department of English, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: April 8, 2011,   recorded: February 2008,   views: 3421
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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Description

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?

Reading assignment:

John Barth, Lost in the Funhouse (1963-68): "Nightsea Journey," "Ambrose, His Mark," "Lost in the Funhouse," and "Menelaiad"

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