HENA03834U English - Free topic: Riches, Remainders, Repetitions: British Fiction (Now and Then)

Volume 2014/2015
Why do the fictions of a small island and its past continue to have such appeal? This course focuses on some of the most celebrated novels of the twenty-first Britain and on their place in the longer tradition of novels concerned with British society. We will read novels in which class, race, generations, education, the country house, the imperial past, and the violence of the twentieth century emerge as enduring and pressing themes. But these recent novels also reflect the changing role of the novel itself in society, and of the struggles of new writers to come to terms with fiction as a form of truth telling. Several of these novels also look to the past for inspiration: Zadie Smith’s On Beauty explicitly rewrites E.M. Forster’s Howards End; and McEwan’s Atonement pays tribute to Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and Remains of the Day reworks the “upstairs/downstairs” theme of Maria Edgeworth’s Castle Rackrent, so we will read these texts in their respective pairs. We will also look at the first episodes of the hit television series, Downton Abbey, as a recent, successful exercise in representing British society to a contemporary audience.
Required Texts:
Kazuo Ishiguro, Remains of the Day
Maria Edgeworth, Castle Rackrent
Ian McEwan, Atonement
Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey
E.M. Forster, Howard’s End
Zadie Smith, On Beauty
Michael Faber, Under the Skin
Tom McCarthy, Remainder
Ali Smith, The Accidental
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 176,75
  • Total
  • 204,75