English 246L

Graduate Pro-seminar (Literature in English, 1945 to the Present): British Fiction Since 1945

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2019 Gang, Joshua
W 9-12 301 Wheeler


This pro-seminar has two interrelated aims. The first is to survey British fiction (broadly construed) from 1945 through the present. The second is to survey that field’s major critical conversations and give students the tools to enter critical discourse meaningfully and judiciously. Topics of discussion will include: realism and its alternatives; experimental form and novelistic psychology; race, immigration, and empire; feminism; Angry Young people; social welfare, Thatcherism, and New Labour; the decriminalization of homosexuality and the legacy of AIDS; the Troubles and Northern Ireland; the legacies of WWI and WWII; nationalism, the European Union, and Brexit. Evaluation will be based on a presentation, a conference-length paper, and a final article-length paper (which continues or develops the work begun in the conference paper).

Primary texts will include: Graham Greene’s The Third Man (1948); Samuel Beckett’s Molloy (1951); Iris Murdoch’s Under the Net (1953); Samuel Selvon’s The Lonely Londoners (1957); Alan Sillitoe’s “Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner” (1959); Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961); selections from Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook (1962); Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea (1966); BS Johnson’s Christie Malry’s Own Double Entry (1973); Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children (1981); Kazuo Ishiguro’s Remains of the Day (1988); WG Sebald’s Rings of Saturn (1995); Seamus Deane’s Reading in the Dark (1998); JM Coetzee’s Disgrace (1999); Alan Hollinghurst’s The Line of Beauty (2004); and Fiona Mozley’s Elmet (2017). We will also examine a handful of films: The Third Man (Reed, 1948); Seven Up! (Almond, 1964); War Requiem (Jarman, 1989); The Crying Game (1992); Blue (Jarman, 1993); and This is England (Meadows, 2006). Critical and theoretical readings will likely include those by: Georg Lukács, Colleen Lye and Jed Esty, Alain Robbe-Grillet, James McNaughton, Emilie Morin, Molly Hite, Martha Nussbaum, Paul Gilroy, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Marina Mackay, David Kurnick, Rebecca Walkowitz, Derek Attridge, Michael McKeon, Alasdair MacIntyre, Theodore Martin, and others.

Books will be available for purchase from University Press Books (2430 Bancroft). Other readings will be made available through the course site.

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