About this Course

LITERARY BENNINGTON – Alumni Online Course

February 17 through the week of April 6, 2016

Literary Bennington is a course devoted to exploring the lineage of literary greats who have stalked the campus since the College was first founded in 1932. We’ll read widely in the Bennington canon through the decades, rummage in the College archives for forgotten literary lore, and read through the student-run blog, “Literary Bennington,” which features author interviews, short pieces of journalism, and reviews of literary events on campus. The class will read works by Bernard Malamud, Shirley Jackson, poet Mary Ruefle ’74, The Secret History by Donna Tartt ’86 and The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai ’93.

Beneath the popular myth of Bennington as a laboratory for new and ever-more expansive acts of freedom, there is a literary tradition on campus that we will be investigating with fresh eyes. Has literature been taught differently here from the beginning? Or is there something in the water? Will our search through the archive unlock the secrets of how to construct the Bennington Writer? We’ll also be exploring a larger question: Why does a small experimental school at the ankle of Vermont loom so large in the American literary landscape?

This course is designed to be flexible. It will pair weekly reading assignments in the major texts with optional supplementary readings in the Bennington canon. We will also make use of online discussion threads and other resources for discussion and debate.  

Literary Bennington will culminate in an event in New York City April 21st, featuring a conversation with Bennington author, Kiran Desai. To RSVP for the event, click here

Details and How to Register:

The course runs from the week of February 17 through the week of April 6, 2016. There will be a gathering for participants in the class in New York City at the end of April. More information to follow.

Time commitment: This course is self-structured. There will be weekly readings and participation in online discussion forums on your own schedule. There may be several real-time live discussions to be arranged at an agreed-upon time with participants once the course begins.

Materials: A full list of reading materials will be provided shortly before the course begins. These books will need to be purchased or borrowed.

Technical needs: Access to the Internet.

Cost: $100, plus the cost of books. Travel and accommodations to New York City for the event in April are not included.

To register click here or call the Office of Alumni Relations at 802-440-4893 for more information or assistance.