To Kill a Mockingbird
It’s hard to think of a book that’s had more influence on the collective consciousness and conscience of generations of American students than To Kill a Mockingbird. Many of the novel’s readers remember the impact it had on their moral and political senses. What they may not remember as well is the fineness of the novel’s appeal to their literary senses. This master class will consider how the political, the moral, and the literary aspects of the novel fit together.
Jeff Nunokawa has been a professor of English at Princeton University for nearly thirty years. He’s written and taught widely on topics ranging from Victorian literature to the history of the essay to the intellectual uses of social media. At present he’s at work on a book that may be called something like Mid-Century Middle Class, about being brought up middle-class, middle-brow, mid-century, by old-school New Deal, mixed-race, mixed-feelings-about-the-melting-pot parents: what it was like, in other words, to be brought up in a world where To Kill a Mockingbird carried the force of a book of prophecy and history. Nunokawa began his career teaching middle and high school and he has been honored and happy to be in contact with middle and high school teachers through The Bread Loaf School of English, where he has taught since 1999.