English | Twetieth-Century British Fiction
L346 | 28827 | Ranu Samantrai
L346 TWENTIETH-CENTURY BRITISH FICTION
28827 – 11:15a-12:30p (30 students) 3 cr., A&H.
This course is designed to provide a broad overview of English prose
since the mid-twentieth century. Using work by major writers who
have shaped English fiction in the last few decades, our texts will
follow the significant aesthetic and philosophical developments of
the period: the new realism, postmodernism, postcolonial fiction,
and the recent move to an ironic realism. Each of the texts we will
read was influential in its time, both for its aesthetic innovations
and because it prompted reflection upon the relation between
literature and its political, social and philosophical context.
Brief, in-class lectures will provide the historical context for
mapping this intellectual trajectory. Because the aesthetics of
prose in this period owe considerably to dramatic works, we will
include some plays in our list of readings. Throughout the semester
we will discuss the intricate relationship between form and content,
where authors struggle to say the unsayable, to make room for untold
stories, and to create narratives that reflect and participate in
the world-altering events of their remarkable times. Authors will
be drawn from the following list: George Orwell, Graham Greene,
John Osborne, Sam Selvon, Harold Pinter, Angela Carter, Tom
Stoppard, Kazuo Ishiguro, Pat Barker, Salman Rushdie, David
Mitchell, Bernadine Evaristo, Anne Enright, and Julian Barnes.
Assignments likely will include two analytical essays, a mid-term
examination and a final examination. They may include informal
writing and in-class presentations.