Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Topics Modern British Literature: Nowhere in Particular: Exile and Literature

ENGL 261.301
instructor(s):
MWF 12

Although one can trace the subject of exile back to Homer's Odyssey and accounts of the Babylonian captivity in the Bible, in the twentieth century exile acquired special force as a distinctive aspect of the modern condition. Exile can be a self-imposed personal, political, or artistic choice, it can be a matter of survival, it can be a painful loss of or expulsion from one's home, it can be an opportunity to discover other lands and cultures, it can be temporary or permanent. In this class we will take up the work of different kinds of exiles and examine the political, ethical, and artistic inflections that their uprooted status imposed on their writing. Readings may include Joseph Conrad's "Amy Foster" and Lord Jim, James Joyce's play Exiles and selections from his novel Ulysses, Jean Rhys's Good Morning, Midnight, Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, Samuel Beckett's Molloy, stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer, V.S. Naipaul's A Bend in the River, and Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children. Requirements: three medium-length essays, occasional quizzes, and a final.