Abstract / Synopsis

This paper describes our team-taught interdisciplinary mathematics and literature course, Mathematical Literature and Literary Mathematics, which invites students to consider Raymond Queneau's challenge: "Why shouldn't one demand a certain effort on the reader's part? Everything is always explained to him. He must eventually tire of being treated with such contempt.'' We study works by Berge, Borges, Calvino, Perec, Queneau, Robbe-Grillet and Stoppard, among others. From a literary critical perspective, the course highlights the play of language rather than the primacy of meaning. We choose texts where mathematical concepts are subjects or structuring elements of the literature, and ideally both. Overall, the course has been enjoyable and productive for both students and its professors so far: the students learn; we learn, both from each other and from the students; and a good time is had by all.



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© Rita Capezzi and Christine Kinsey

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.