Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Topics in Modern British Novel

ENGL 265.401
instructor(s):
MW 3-4:30

In this advanced seminar we will study a series of thematically connected novels by some of the century's most important writers from England and her former colonies (including India, South Africa, Nigeria, Jamaica, and possibly also Australia). There will be some emphasis on novels set or written in Africa (since this is my area of specialization). Our class discussions will explore the following concerns: Englishness and Otherness; civilization and barbarism; power and knowledge; the country and the city; the metropolis and the periphery; writing and orally. The course will be of interest to students with an interest in questions of race and gender and also to folks who simply want to expand their literary horizons. Students should expect to read a novel per week, plus a few critical and theoretical essays. The grade will be based on a mid-term and a final paper (both of around 6-10 pages), and on occasional class presentations.

Readings may include: Coetzee, "The Narrative of Jacobus Coetzee" from DUSKLANDS and WAITING FOR THE BARBARIANS; Forster, A PASSAGE TO INDIA; Waugh, BLACK MISHIEF, Lessing, THE GRASS IS SINGING; Rhys, THE WIDE SARGASSO SEA; Durrell, MOUNT OLIVE; Greene, THE QUIET AMERICAN; Gordimer, SOMETHING OUT THERE; Ngugi wa Thiong'O, A GRAIN OF WHEAT; Rushdie, SHAME; Desai, THE CLEAR LIGHT OF DAY; Cliff, NO TELEPHONE TO HEAVEN; Echewa, I SAW THE SKY CATCH FIRE; Malouf, REMEMBERING BABYLON; Ishiguro, THE REMAINS OF THE DAY.