Literary Bennington


DatesFebruary 17 through the week of April 6, 2016

About the class
Literary Bennington is a course devoted to exploring the lineage of literary greats who were on campus since the College was first founded in 1932. We will 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.

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? 

Required readings: "The Secret a History" by Donna Tartt ’86, "The Fixer" by Bernard Malamud, and "The Inheritance of Loss" by Kiran Desai ’93. 
There will be other readings by Shirley Jackson, poet and former faculty member Mary Ruefle '74, plus optional supplemental reading posted on the course website.
Event: The course will culminate in an event in New York City in late April featuring a conversation with a Bennington author.

About Benjamin Anastas: Benjamin Anastas has been on the literature faculty at Bennington since 2012 and he is also a member of the core faculty of Bennington’s MFA program in Writing. He is the author of the novels An Underachiever’s Diary (Dial Press) and The Faithful Narrative of a Pastor’s Disappearance (FSG), and his memoir Too Good to Be True (HMH/New Harvest) was published in 2012. His short fiction, essays, and reviews have appeared in The Paris Review, Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, Bookforum, The New Republic, and The Best American Essays 2012.

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

Details and how to register:The course runs from 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 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.

: 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.

For more details on the class, visit or call the Office of Alumni Relations at 802-440-4363.

@ $100.00 (US) per person
    Yes, I may attend the event in New York City in late April

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