Tentative Schedule

(Please expect changes to be made in the schedule from time to time during the semester--they will be announced in class and by email).

Please turn off your cell phones and computers during class. Take notes with paper and pen or pencil. If you are late to class, or if you leave during class, or if you leave class early, I will count you as absent. You are allowed two absences without excuse or penalty. See attendance for more details.

So that we can quickly google information as needed during class, I will ask a different student at each class meeting to sit next to the class computer and serve as our technical assistant.

Assignment for each class (LATE WORK IS NOT ACCEPTED):

Part A. Two discussion questionson each assigned film and on each assigned reading are due by 6 p.m. on Mondays and on Wednesdays. Email your questions in one word document to me with your name at the bottom of the document at ricahrd.a.burt@gmail.com.


Many of the readings will be difficult, partly because the vocabularies the writers use contain technical terms you probably won't know as well as "big words" you may not know. Since you can easily go to wiktionary to look up the meanings and etymologies of words you don't know, I ask that you include at least one word you had to look up with your discussion questions. That will help everyone in the class. And since this is an English class, you should want to expand your vocabulary, no? :)

Genres of posthumography; detective fiction (C.S.I.); editors' introductions (philology, manuscript authentication, repair, restoration, paleography, facsimiles, and so on) and critical apparatuses (preface or introduction, notes and annotations, appendices); genetic criticism (composition and publishing history); narratalogical frames (found manuscripts that are the basis of a given novel or work of philosophy); the author dys-function: biography and autobiography (or autobiothantography).

August 23:

Writing Death: The authenticity of the "Author's Note" at the end of Philip K. Dick's A Scanner Darkly

(Copies will be distributed in class)

August 25: Required Reading:

1. Franz Kafka, "Before the Law."

Orson Welles narrates it here.

2. Kafka's Papers Two articles: "Kafka's Last Trial" here and here.

3. Maurice Blanchot, "Kafka and Brod" in Friendship (1971; trans 1997)

Notes to all three Blanchot essays.

Last Words, Signing Off: Writing / After / Your Death

The Case of Franz Kafka's "Last Will and Testament"

Reading the Will: The State of Kafka's Papers

August 30 Required Reading: Maurice Blanchot, "The Last Word" in Friendship (1971; trans 1997)

September 1: Required Reading: Maurice Blanchot, "The Very Last Word" in Friendship (1971; trans 1997)

First paper due Sept. 2: TOPIC: "Who Has the (Very) Last Word in Kafa's Case?" 1k words on Max Brod's "readings" of Kafka's will in three postscripts Brod wrote to three successive editions of The Trial. Read these postscripts on your own with Maurice Blanchot's three essays in mind. Is an author's last will and testament--his or her very last words--necessarily binding on an editor? What happens when the author leaves more than one will? What kind of law operates here? What is the status of a postscript? Why does Brod feel the need to write three postscripts? Can an excerpt of an author's text or an entire text properly be read as the author's final words on his (un)published writings (as in the case of the quotation on the back of the French edition of Eduoard Leve's Suicide and the translators afterword in the Engish translation?--can a refusal to explain oneself be regarded as an explanation, even if only a negative one (i.e., there is no explanation)? (Don't answer these questions in your essay--think of them as points of departure to help you raise your own questions and formulate your own view.) (LATE WORK IS NOT ACCEPTED) Email me your paper to ricahrd.a.burt@gmail.com (click here). That is not a typo in my first name.

September 6 Required Reading: Percy Byshe Shelley, "The Triumph of Life" and posthumous editing

September 8 Against Biography: Paul de Man, "Shelley Disfigured"

September 13 Required Reading: Randall McCleod, "Unediting Shakespeare" (the posthumously never published text handwritten in the margin / blank space of a published text written by a different author)

September 15 Required Reading: D.A. Greetham, "Textual Forensics" http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/burt/posthumography/textualforensics.pdf

September 20 Required Reading: Author as editor: Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire

September 22 Required Reading: Author as editor: Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire

September 27 Required Reading: and Gerard Genette, "Paratexts"


Editing makes the literary text un/readable. Variants become undecidably engimatic. Literature spills out the literary from literature through narrative framing and first person narration: indeterminacy, irony, ambiguity traverse the fictive scholarly editing of a fictive text or texts; the narrator becomes a double of the author.

September 29 Required Reading: Editing Notes: Dimitri Nabokov, ed. The Original of Laura

October 4 Required Reading: The Literary Fiction of Editing: Thomas Bernhard, Correction , pp. 3-165.

October 6 Required Reading: Thomas Bernhard, Correction, pp. 165-271

October 11--October 13 Assignment for research paper: Keep a notebook on the editing of a posthumously published work of literature or philosophy we have or will read for this course. (You may choose a work not on the syllabus, but consult with me first.)

1. Keep a note book (word doc) of your research (go to databases on UF libraries. Consult JSTOR, Project Muse, EBSCO, back issues of The Times Literary Supplement [TLS]), etc. and give your research paper a tentative title. Date your entries. Your entries should be analytical notes, questions, written out as complete sentences, and records of what you searched (give search engine you used and the words and phrases you seached).

2. Write an annotated bibliography of at least four articles and / or book chapters related to your research project. Email 1 and 2 to me October 11 at ricahrd.a.burt@gmail.com (click here). That is not a typo in my first name.

3. Give a coherent narrative account (an intellectual autobiography) of your research: explain why you did what did you do, however random it may seem. Consider, as relevant, the editor's paratexts, the author's notebooks, files, any archives, in print or digital. The author's biography / autobiography, letters, and so on. What did you "read"? Everything?

4. Summary of tentative results. Analyze how you "read" the entries in your notes: what editorial assumptions about authorship, interference, intention, texts, literature as a container, the book as finished or unfinished, archives, letters, supplementary anecdotes that frame a (biographical or autobiographical) reading of the literary text and so on are operative in the posthumously published work you have analyzed? Consider literature and philosophy as the questioning, even undoing of the assumptions about readability on which editing depends. What more to want to learn? Email 3 and 4 to me October 15.

October 18 Required Reading: Philosophy becomes literary / Putting Your Papers in Order: Selections from Soren Kierkegaard, Either / Or Vol. 1 (pages t.b.a)

October 20 Required Reading: "

October 25 Required Reading: Nota Bene: Reading the Footprint as Pas Faux in Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe pp. 1-147

Second Paper Due in Class, October 25

October 27 Required Reading: Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe 1-147

November 1 Required Reading: " Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe 147-282

November 3 Required Reading: " Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe 147-282 and Derrida's discussion ( in his posthumously published book, The Beast and the Sovereign, Vol. II, 2011) of Blaise Pascal's "note to self" / journal sewn, unstitched, and resewn into the clothes he wore over eight years and found by his servant after Pascal died.

November 8 Required Reading: From letters to archives: Writing the Ash of the Archive: Wilhelm Jensen, Gradiva

November 3 Required Reading: Sigmund Freud, "Jensen's Gradiva"

November 10 Required Reading: Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression

November 15 Required Reading: Writing from Before the Grave: Dead Letters, Wills, Traces, and Bookmarks in Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone pp. 1-190 (the Oxford edition; if you are using another, the page numberss equal the prologue, or "The Storming of Seringapatam," and the First Period, narrated by Gabriel Betteredge).

November 17 Required Reading: Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone pp. 191-263 (Miss Clack's narration)

November 22 Required Reading: Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone pp. 264-465 (the rest of the novel)

November 24 Thanksgiving

November 29 Required Reading: Unfinished, Uneditable, Unreadable: Writing After Your Death in Georges Perec, 53 Days

December 1: Required Reading:Georges Perec, 53 Days

December 8 FINAL PAPER DUE in class.

Review of David Foster Wallace's posthumously published, edited novel, Pale King and related essays on Wallace.

Essays on paper trails (Shelley's ghost) and paper money.

Class discussion / Evaluations (please bring a laptop or cellphone with you to class)