Choose four texts we have read together, note their dates, arrange them in order, and make very short (a few words) notes about a specific connection you see among them—a device, theme, concern, or pattern. Then write a few sentences reflecting on the historical line you see in terms of these texts and that device: do you see development? sudden change? continuity? regression? Influence? Disputes? Diverging lines? If you find yourself writing a narrative of progression or teleology (it was all leading up to…), ask yourself whether that’s the only way to see it. If you find yourself talking about an unchanging stasis, again, ask yourself how it might work.
This is optional but very strongly encouraged as a useful activity of synthesis and good fodder for creative discussion. I’ll be asking all of you to reflect on historical lines in class on Monday.