English 125E

The Contemporary Novel: Character and Collectivity

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Session Course Areas
1 Summer 2020 Bernes, Jasper
TWTh 12-2 C
Book List

Atwood, Margaret: Oryx and Crake; Beatty, Paul: The Sellout; Jemisin, N. K.: The Fifth Season; Lim, Eugene: Dear Cyborg


What options are there for novelists who want to tell the story of the many rather than the story of the one? If history represents the actions of millions of people, how does literature represent these collective histories?  Contemporary society forces these kinds of questions on its chroniclers, inasmuch as it offers extremes of isolation and social atomization alongside new forms of collectivity (in protest movements, on the internet, and elsewhere). In this course, we will look at 21st-century novelists who have risen to the challenges of representation posed by recent history, resuscitating old forms, inventing new ones, or blowing up the novel altogether.

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