Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG435H1S - L0201

ENG435H1S  L0201   T11-1 
Advanced Studies Group 5: Postcolonialism and Postmodernism
Professor Ato Quayson
Office Telephone: 416-946-0586
Office Address: Jackman Humanities Building, Room 832

Brief Description of Course: 
This course will focus on a series of questions to do with how to read works of magical realism in a comparative framework. The course will explore definitions of postcolonialism and postmodernism and the ways in which they are mutually illuminated through the genre of Magical realism.Questions to be raised will include: what are the relationships between fantasy, storytelling, literature and epistemology? How do different cultures attempt to express these relationships? How does magical realism relate to gothic, science fiction and their cognate genres? How does magical realism help us to resituate theories of mimesis? What is magical realism and how does it help us re-think notions of the epic, narrative, history, and the relation of all these to a global transnational imaginary? In what ways does bringing Postcolonialism and Postmodernism together enable us to arrive at definitions adequate to the complexities of contemporary literary aesthetics?The course will be divided into two mutually defining aspects, namely: 1) general theoretical explorations in definitions of magical realism, postcolonialism and postmodernism and two 2) an exploration of various magical realist texts. The primary objective will be to get students to read magical realism across several Western and non-Western discourses. As such, a lot of emphasis will be put on detailed engagement with the texts to be studied as well as on the cultural and historical backgrounds of the various magical realist traditions. Students will also be encouraged to follow their own critical/theoretical intuitions as much as possible as a prerequisite for dealing with the various intersections to be raised in the class more generally.

Required Reading: Jorge Luis Borges, Labyrinths; Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities; Robert Kroetsch, What the Crow Said; Gabriel Garcia Marquez One Hundred Years of Solitude;Toni Morrison, Beloved.

First Three Authors/Texts:

Method of Evaluation: TBA

Method of Evaluation: TBA

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