Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG329H1F L0101

ENG329H1F   L0101    T2-4, R2
Contemporary British Fiction
Instructor: Prof. T. Dancer 

Office Location: Jackman Humanities Building, Room 713

Brief Description of Course: The 21st century is often defined by speed, by the rapid acceleration of information, communication, and technology that marks contemporary living. The novel, by contrast, is a form associated with slowness and sustained attention. Reading a novel thus involves an experience of time that is deeply at odds with most of our everyday experiences. Can the novel survive the changing pace of contemporary culture? What is the fate of the novel in a world of instant access and on-demand entertainment? This course explores these questions as they are addressed in novels by David Mitchell, Nicola Barker, Kazuo Ishiguro, Zadie Smith, Ian McEwan, and Tom McCarthy. While some view the slowness of the novel as a sanctuary from the rapid pace of 21st-century life, others call for a novel form that can embrace new, speedier methods of reading.

Required Reading: David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas; Ian McEwan, Saturday; Tom McCarthy, Remainder; Zadie Smith, On Beauty; Kazuo Ishiguro, The Buried Giant.

First Three Authors/Texts: Mitchell, McEwan, McCarthy

Method of evaluation: Essays (35%); exam (45%); participation (10%); short assignments (10%).

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