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Topics in 20th Century British Novel

ENGL 265.800

The Post-Colonial Novel:  Many commentators feel that the domestic British novel has lost much of its lustre in recent decades, and that today it is the writers of British’s former colonies who are producing the most interesting and important English-language novels, “without necessarily endorsing that label of accepting the assumptions which underlie it.  We will consider each novel in the relation to two distinct but overlapping horizons: that defined by the specific cultural and political contexts of its production, and that defined by the established tradition of the British novel.  As a way of indicating this latter horizon, we will begin with Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India, two classic British novels with which post-colonial writers have had to come to terms.  We will then read six or eight of the important post-colonial novels, probably including A Man of the People by Chinua Achebe, Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee, July’s People by Nadine Gordimer, The Bone People by Keri Hulme, Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith by Thomas Keneally, Cal by Bernard Mac Laverty, and Shame by Salman Rushdie.  There will be one short paper, one long paper, and a final exam.

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