ENG329H1F L5101 M6-9
Contemporary British Fiction
Instructor: Professor Sara Salih
Office Location: Jackman Humanities Building, Room 832
Brief Description of Course: During this half-year course we will be studying novels by writers based in Britain whose work addresses notions of ‘Britishness’ through the medium of fictional history and, in the case of Sebald, via investigations into memory and memorializing. All of the novels on the syllabus are to some extent preoccupied with one or both of the world wars and the ways in which these events shaped ideas about nationality, national belonging and nationalism, preoccupations which continue into the present-day. Through their fictionalizations of the past, each of these novels engages with questions of nationality, ethnicity, gender, class and sexuality, and these in turn press upon notions of Britishness. In our discussions, we will think about the unstable nature of ideas of nationality and the ways in which they may shift over time. We will also consider why representations of the past continue to be so popular in contemporary British fiction and the culture more broadly, and we will discuss the ways such representations may or may not hold a mirror up to the present.
Required Reading: Pat Barker, Regeneration; Andrea Levy, Small Island; Ian McEwan, Atonement; Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day; W.G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn
First Three Authors/Texts: As above
Method of Instruction: Lecture/discussion
Method of Evaluation: Essay abstract 25%, abstract workshop 5%, abstract workshop report 5%, mid-term essay40%, in-class essay 25%.