English 356 Contemporary British Fiction. This course has been renamed Studies in British Fiction since 1900. See English 355.htm.

Contemporary British Places: London, the Country, and Otherwhere

This course investigates three evocative locations represented in contemporary British fiction: London, the country and its focal point, the country-house, and various fantastic “otherwheres” invented to supplement and contest realistic settings. Inevitably, these three kinds of place overlap and intermingle in the works that we study. We will begin by studying Professor Franco Moretti’s Atlas of the European Novel 1800-1900.  Professor Moretti will be joining English majors for the Skylark retreat, after delivering this year’s Shannon-Clark lecture.  Throughout the course, we will look for ways to apply and complicate Professor Moretti’s theories about the mapping of novels, settings, and the material conditions of authorship.

Franco Moretti, Atlas of the European Novel 1800-1900


Michael Brein's Guide to London by the Underground

Country Houses
                                        Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day
                                        Alan Hollinghurst, The Spell
                                        Ian McEwan, Atonement
                                        Bernardine Evaristo, The Emperor’s Babe
                                        Penelope Fitzgerald’s Offshore
                                        Will Self, How the Dead Live
                                        Zadie Smith, White Teeth
                                        Jill Paton Walsh, Knowledge of Angels
                                        Diana Wynne Jones, Hexwood
                                        Alice Thomas Ellis, Fairy Tale
                                        Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere

Other English, English Others.

Fairies, dwarves, giants, children, Irish, Asians, Blacks, youths, punks, animals, terrorists, cannibals, scapegoats. This course examines the formations of contemporary Englishness through the lens of fiction written by a multicultural array of British novelists. Topics of discussion include imperialism, “heritage,” nationalism, race, grotesque and carnivalesque, subject and object, Orientalism, the Lacanian mirror stage, ecriture feminine, hybridity, exile and migration, Manichaean allegory. Guided reading and research will lead to the writing of a substantial paper on novels and short stories, using Microsoft Word. A required film series requires the commitment of approximately 14 viewing hours during the term.

Steven Forsythe, Creating MLA Style Research Papers Using Microsoft Word
William Shakespeare, The Tempest

Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe

J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Alice Thomas Ellis, Fairy Tale

Doris Lessing, The Fifth Child

Peter Carey, Jack Maggs

Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber

Zadie Smith, White Teeth

Buchi Emecheta, Second Class Citizen

J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

V. S. Naipaul, The Enigma of Arrival

Stevie Davies, Impassioned Clay

J. M. Coetzee, Foe

Hilary Mantel, The Giant, O'Brien

Required Viewing:

     Jubilee (Derek Jarman)
     Tempest (1979, dir. Derek Jarman)

     My Beautiful Laundrette (screenplay by Hanif Kureishi; dir. Stephen Frears)

     Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (1987, screenplay by Hanif Kureishi; dir. Stephen Frears)

     Great Expectations (1946, dir. David Lean)

     Secrets and Lies (1996, dir. Mike Leigh)

     In the Name of the Father (1993, dir. Jim Sheridan)

     The Crying Game (1992, dir. Neil Jordan)

Conflict and Memory in Contemporary British Fiction: This course focuses on novels of the 1970s and 1980s by writers of three generations. By focusing on two decades out of the fifty years since World War II, we study novels by writers at different stages in their careers, and confront issues in the study of the contemporary. The techniques of narrative fiction and theories of the novel will be emphasized. Cultural and historical context will be integrated into discussion by means of lectures and study questions. We examine provincial and metropolitan fiction, naturalistic, allegorical, historical, and experimental narratives, as well as variants of nineteenth-century models such as the bildungsroman, the "loose baggy monster" novel of multiple plots, and the philosophical novel.

Martin Amis, Time’s Arrow or
—, London Fields

Pat Barker, Regeneration

A. S. Byatt, Possession

Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber

Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day

Doris Lessing, The Fifth Child

Iris Murdoch, The Philosopher’s Pupil

Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children

Graham Swift, Waterland

Jeanette Winterson, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit

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