Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Postcolonial British Novel

ENGL 265.301
TR 10:30-12

The decline of the British Empire coincides with the rise of literary modernism.  The kinds of assumptions  on which empire rested--myths of national character, divine mandate, racial and cultural superiority--were undermined by modern writers.  Novels of empire made political and moral judgments while incorporating elements of the adventure story, the travel narrative, and literature of expatriatism.  In addition, fiction of empire exploited the exotic possibilities afforded by settings like Africa and India.  Starting with Kipling, we will trace the image of imperialism in fiction by writers like Haggard, Conrad, Forster, Orwell, Greene, Scott, Lessing, Burgess, and Gordimer.  We will contrast them to writers like Achebe, Naipaul, and Rushdie, who come from African and Indian backgrounds and are shaped by theheritage of empire.  We will pay special attention to the critique of imperialism by modern writers and consider film versions of certain texts.  Course requirements will include several short writing assignments, an oral presentation, and two essays of 8-10 pages.

fulfills requirements