Begins Thursday, March 18, 2021
Class will meet weekly via Zoom, 7PM - 9PM EST
Open to All writers!
Any questions about this class? Use the Chat Button (lower left) to talk with us.
The marriage plot is a story we cannot get enough of. From Samuel Richardson’s Pamela to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice; from Gone With the Wind to Gone Girl; from Madame Bovary to Fifty Shades of Gray; and from Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones chick lit to Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, writers have perpetuated and interrogated the marriage plot. It’s got a lot of life left—see the recent television success of Bridgerton and of Indian Matchmaker, to pluck a few recent examples from your Netflix queue.
This class is designed to make you a better writer by making you a better reader. We will look at a wide variety of texts that engage with the theme of romantic love and companionate marriage (you know, when you choose not to go to the matchmaker or let the village elders pick your mate). Here in the 21st century most of us do hold our fates about mates in our hands: it is up to the individual to find a match. We expect our partners to play a wide variety of roles: best friend, passionate lover, cheerful companion, co-parent, buffer in awkward social situations, and advocate for us both in public and private. How did this come to pass? In moving from a practical idea of marriage and family life to one full of aspirations we have also shifted our beliefs and expectations about romance, love, and what comes next.
By reading a diverse group of writers, we will plunge into these issues, looking at both the philosophy and practical reasons for and against the marriage plot. Our readings will cover a swath of genres—literary critics explaining the romantic tradition (it’s not just hearts and flowers), classic novels, bestsellers, thrillers, and the wave of queer writers who have been scrutinizing these ideas long before gay marriage was a thing. Our reading list is likely to include Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Adam Phillips, Sylvia Plath, Ellen Willis, Phillip Roth, Beth-Ann Fennelly, Patricia Williams, Stephanie Coontz, Rachel Cusk, Roxane Gay, Vivian Gornick, Wayne Koestenbaum, Janice Radway, Jasmine Guillory, and Phillip Lopate. We will look at history, diaries, novels, etiquette books, cultural and literary criticism, and essays which turn over the knot of how we break from our birth families and create our own.
Our emphasis is on reading and we will look closely at the readings, scrutinizing everything from word choice to prose style, ruminating on why the writer chose a particular genre or structure. Over our six-week class, as will read we will practice different critical approaches and discuss the ways love and marriage are made and remade over many literary generations. There will also be a writing component so you can experiment and find your ideal way to explore these issues. By the end of the class, you will have writing that you can work on revising and think about publishing.
STUDENTS LOVE LISA:
"I really loved the course. You get out of it what you put in. My instructor, Lisa, required a lot of readings, and you obviously don't have to do them, but the whole point of doing one of these is to learn by doing the work. If you don't shortchange yourself, these can really be a great avenue to get feedback on your writing. 10/10 would do again." -Dustin H.
"Lisa is really very good at pop culture. And she's wonderful at pushing you in a good direction without really telling you where to go. A gentle nudge that gets you thinking, basically, and then you're off to the races. I would highly recommend this class if you have any interest at all in pop culture writing. The Wet Ink platform that Writing Workshops uses is pretty coo, too." -Rachel H.
ONLINE COURSE STRUCTURE:
This class meets weekly via Zoom and also uses our online classroom Wet Ink. Lisa will get you all the details after you enroll. Come prepared for a super fun class with live interaction on Zoom each week and plenty of writing, reading, and talking!
Instructor: Lisa Levy
Class size limited to 12 writers
Class Starts March 18, 2021
Course is fully ONLINE.
Instructor Lisa Levy is a writer, essayist, and critic. Her work has appeared in many publications, including the New Republic, the LARB, the Believer, the Millions, the Rumpus, TLS, the CBC, and Lit Hub, where she is a contributing editor. She is also a columnist and contributing editor to Crime Reads. She has an essay in the collection Talking About Pauline Kael and one in the forthcoming anthology Dating & Sex: The Theory of Mutual Self-Destruction. She is pursuing an MFA in nonfiction writing at Goucher College and working on a collection of linked essays about chronic illness and cultural ideas about life narrative, progressive time, and futurity, as well as a critical study about women and crime fiction. Aside from reading, writing, and squeezing in some reality TV, Lisa collects all sort of things: MOD dresses, varieties of Cadbury Dairy Milk bars, etiquette books, dated essay anthologies, Lilli Ann coats, and old copies of the Partisan Review. She posts a dress of the day on social media; Instagrams her night reading; eats her chocolate and loves her coats (none of which are really warm enough for Canada). Lisa moved from New York City to Toronto in the summer of 2019. She lives with her husband and their Basset hound, Daisy, in the Leslieville neighborhood in Toronto. She considers herself an amateur Canadian. Read her work here.