English 125E

The Contemporary Novel: The Latest Pulitzer Prize-Winning Novels

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2018 Wong, Hertha D. Sweet
Lectures MW 11-12 + one hour of discussion section per week (sec. 101: F 11-12; sec. 102: F 2-3; sec. 103: Thurs. 9-10; sec. 104: Thurs. 10-11) Lectures: note new room: 212 Wheeler; disc. secs. in different locations

Book List

Batuman, Elif: The Idiot; Diaz, Herman: In the Distance; Doerr, Anthony: All the Light We Cannot See; Greer, Andrew Sean: Less; Nguyen, Viet Thanh: The Sympathizer; Whitehead, Colson: The Underground Railroad


The Pulitzer Prize in Fiction is awarded for “distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life.” In this course, we will read the four most recent (2015-2018) Pulitzer-Prize winning novels and two novels nominated for the Pulitzer in 2018. In addition to examining narrative form and literary style, we will consider cultural and historical contexts and thematic resonances. We will discuss the trends in topics and styles selected for the Pulitzer as well. We will spend the last one-third, or so, of the course reading and responding to the three novels nominated for the Prize in 2018. Working in small groups, you will take on the role of the Pulitzer Prize Committee, writing responses to, assessments of, and recommendations about each of the novels and making a strong case for which novel deserves the award.

Incomplete Primary Reading (in chronological order of Pulitzer Prize, 2015-2018):

Doerr, Anthony.  All the Light We Cannot See (2015)

Nguyen, Viet Thanh. The Sympathizer (2016)

Whitehead, Colson. The Underground Railroad (2017)

Batuman, Elif.  The Idiot (2018)

Diaz, Hernan.  In the Distance (2018)

Greer, Andrew Sean.  Less (2018)

Secondary Reading:

Assorted essays uploaded to bCourses.

Discussion Sections

101 Rodriguez, Maia
F 11-12 305 Wheeler
102 Rodriguez, Maia
F 2-3 305 Wheeler
103 Su, Amanda Jennifer
Thurs. 9-10 301 Wheeler
104 Su, Amanda Jennifer
Thurs. 10-11 301 Wheeler
105 Gold, Thea
F 11-12 300 Wheeler

Other Recent Sections of This Course

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