Comparative Literature | Literature Today: 1950 to the Present: History in/and the Postmodern Novel
C338 | 26845 | Prof. Vivian Halloran


TR 2:30 -3:35 pm
Carries A& H Credit

In this class, we will analyze the role that history plays as a theme
or organizing principle in postmodern novels from around the world.
We will consider examples of the genre ranging from historiographical
metafiction to hysterical fiction and everything in between.  Among
the questions we will be raising this semester are:  What constitutes
historical fiction?  What do we do with alternate or apocryphal
histories?  What is the difference between the “real,” the
“authentic,” and the “true” when it comes to past events?  What is
entertaining about history?  What is historical about literature?  How
do we reconcile conflicting histories within one narrative?  What role
should the past have in the present?  We will read Linda Hutcheon’s A
Poetics of Postmodernism to ground our discussion of these and other
theoretical questions.  The novels we will read include Julian Barnes’
A History of the World in 10 ½  Chapters (UK), Ana Teresa Torres’ Doña
Inés vs. Oblivion (Venezuela), Patrick Chamoiseau’s Solibo Magnificent
(Martinique), Gabriel García Márquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold
(Colombia), and Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything is Illuminated
(United States).

*No prerequisite or instructor approval needed for this class.