English 100

Junior Seminar: Caribbean Literature

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
8 Fall 2008 Premnath, Gautam
Premnath, Gautam
M 3-6 305 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

McKay, C: Banana Bottom; Selvon, S: A Brighter Sun; Naipaul, V.S: A House for Mr. Biswas; Rhys, J: Wide Sargasso Sea; James, C.L.R: Beyond a Boundary; Collins, M: Angel; Levy, Andrea: Small Island; and a substantial course reader.


In 1955 the leading Caribbean intellectual and political leader Eric Williams characterized the new writing coming out of the region as ?a literature of poverty, oppression, ignorance, violence, sex, and racial friction.? From such inauspicious beginnings has emerged one of the most distinctive, inventive, and influential bodies of twentieth-century writing. This course will serve as an introduction to the literature of the Anglophone Caribbean, broaching the great diversity of work it encompasses while inquiring into the factors that unify it. Organizing themes of our discussion will include: the living memory of the past; the imaginative recovery of experiences of slavery, indentureship, and colonialism; continuities and discontinuities between literary and political movements; and literature?s relationship to oral culture. Our booklist emphasizes prose narrative, but we will also read widely in poetry and pay some attention to drama, film, visual art, and popular music. We may also read some work translated from other linguistic traditions. Requirements for the course include two shorter papers, guided research assignments, and a term paper of 10-12 pages.

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