Living and Loving the Literature of Los Angeles

Article excerpt

When Scott Bryson signed on as assistant professor in English at Mount St. Mary's College in Los Angeles, he was a little more than disoriented.

"I really didn't want to move," says the Texas native in a hearty accent of his transfer in 2000. "I'm not much for the urban atmosphere." It didn't take him long, however, to come up with a way to get to know his new surroundings.

Dr. Bryson is teaching his third semester of Writing about Los Angeles Literature at the college, composed largely of first- generation female students. The course grew out of his interest in place-based literature and a desire to acclimate to his new environment. It enrolls 20 first- and second-year students in reading, writing, and critical thinking exercises - with a bit of a local twist.

Bryson uses books written and set in Los Angeles. In addition to regular assignments, his students work in small groups on one of the texts, dissecting and compiling the L.A. references for the class website. By semester's end, each group will have published a page that offers an extensive secondary bibliography, links to biographical information about the author, a plot summary, and a log of maps or pictures of L.A. sites encountered in the readings.

The website (http://update. …

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