Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Post-9/11 Fiction

ENGL 274.302
instructor(s):
MWF 10-11
Benn 322
fulfills requirements:
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major

How has September 11, 2001, and its aftermath shaped recent fiction?  Through various individual and collaborative writing formats, we will explore how distinguished creative writers have integrated 9/11 and its surrounding political climate with the subgenres of “the disaster novel” and post-apocalyptic fiction.  How do scenes of terrorism, whether historical or imagined, shape a text’s structure and character development?  When is a dialogue with 9/11 trendy or an attempt to add gravitas to domestic fiction, and when does it push the boundaries of the novel, producing new experiments in form? By responding in writing to novels such as Ian McEwan’s Saturday, Ali Smith’s The Accidental, Don DeLillo’s Falling Man, John Updike’s Terrorist, and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, we will examine the configurations of nuclear family, religion, marriage, and nationhood that are represented in these recent period pieces.  This course will be taught as a Critical Writing in the Major course through the Critical Writing Program.