English 190

Research Seminar: Cultures of Realism in Postwar Britain


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
14 Spring 2012 Premnath, Gautam
Premnath, Gautam
Tues. 3:30-6:30 103 Wheeler

Book List

Ballard, J: High Rise; Berger, J: A Painter of Our Time; Delaney, S: A Taste of Honey; Dunn, N: Up the Junction; Greene, G: The End of the Affair; Lessing, D: In Pursuit of the English; Naipul, V: The Mimic Men; Orwell, G: The Road to Wigan Pier; Peake, M: Titus Groan; Selvon, S: The Lonely Londoners; Waugh, E: The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold; Wilson, A: Anglo-Saxon Attitudes

Description

This course traces transformations in British literary culture in the two decades following the Second World War.  Toward that end we'll read a diverse set of writings, emphasizing prose narrative in genres including documentary, social comedy,  science fiction, and the novel of ideas. The thread connecting this disparate body of texts is their shared preoccupation with realism -- albeit with attitudes ranging  from an earnest embrace of its progressive aspirations to a caustic debunking of such pretensions. We'll use this as a framework to examine a set of linked issues: literary explorations of the rise of the welfare state and the new social dynamics it provokes; reckonings with the political and aesthetic legacies of the interwar years; and the emergence of a new body of postcolonial writing. Your work in the course will culminate in a research paper on a topic of your own devising.

The announced booklist for the course is tentative and subject to change. It will be supplemented by a course reader on bSpace, featuring readings in poetry, criticism, social commentary, and reportage. I also hope to schedule at least two screenings: the landmark television docudrama Cathy Come Home (dir. Ken Loach, 1966) and a 2004 episode of the TV "dramedy" Shameless.

English 190 replaced English 100 and 150 as of Fall '09. English majors may fulfill the seminar requirement for the major by taking one section of English 190 (or by having taken either English 100 or English 150 before Fall '09). Please read the paragraph on page 2 of the Announcement of Classes for more details about enrolling in or wait-listing for this course.

Please click here for more information about enrollment in English 190.

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