Comparative Literature | Top in Lit Genres Modes/Forms
C611 | 26392 | Prof. Eileen Julien

Department of Comparative Literature- Fall, 2007

Topics in Lit Genres Modes/Forms: The Postcolonial Novel
CMLT-C 611/26392   3:35-6:15   T

above class meets with FRIT-F 667 and AAAD-A 692

In the words of Mikhail Bakhtin, the novel is the only literary
genre to have arisen “since the book” and is quintessentially
modern.  There has been consensus on this point, and it has meant
that the new nations emerging from colonial empires had to “produce
novels in order to certify their distinct and modern nationhood”
(Lynch and Warner, Cultural Institutions of the Novel).   This
seminar will consider the importance of the novels from the formerly
colonized spaces, their common denominators of socio-political (in)
justice and “writing back to the center” (Ashcroft, et al.), and how
they have affected our understanding of novels and literature more
broadly from the late twentieth century to the present.  We will
reflect on the location of the novelist,  the readership of such
novels, and the usefulness of the category “postcolonial,” what it
enables and what it forecloses.  We will do readings on the novel as
a genre and on postcolonialism--from Césaire and Fanon, Said and
Jameson to Bhabha and Spivak, McClintock, Moretti, and Cassanova.
Alongside the classics of postcolonialism we will examine other
texts that may disrupt or challenge the category.  We will read
novelists representative of varied national and cultural spheres,
such as Chinua Achebe (Nigeria), Miguel Asturias (Guatemala), Miguel
Asturias (South Africa), Assia Djebar (Algeria), Nuruddin Farah
(Somalia), Kim Lefevre (Vietnam/France), Toni Morrison (U.S.), Herta
Muller (Romania), Ngugi wa Thiongo (Kenya), Ben Okri
(Nigeria/Britain), Salman Rushdie (India/Britain), Simone Schwarz-
Bart and Daniel Maximin (Guadeloupe/France).