ENGL457 - The Modern Novel

In this course we will explore the remarkable development and transformation of the novel in the twentieth century. The class will focus on readers, reading, and the act of interpretation, paying particular attention to the nature of the implied reader of realism, modernism, and postmodernism; and the difference of female, minority, and postcolonial reading. We will probably begin with a novella by Edith Wharton, which will be presented as the consummation of the realist tradition. We will go on to look at the transformations made by major modernists like Conrad, Joyce, Woolf, Faulkner, and Katherine Anne Porter. We will then examine modern novels from Africa, India, and/or Latin America, and conclude with the unusual and fascinating fiction of postmodernism, reading writers like Samuel Beckett, Italo Calvino, Toni Morrison. We will conclude by reading a hyperfiction and reflecting on the new role of the reader. By the end of the semester, we will have a solid overview of many great achievements in the history of literature and the changing dynamic of the reader over that period. This is intended to be extremely stimulating intellectually and aesthetically; adventurous minds will be rewarded. No previous expertise is any of these areas is required. Assigned reading will usually be something like 150 pages or so per week. There will be several short assignments, a midterm exam, a term paper (10-12 pp), and a take-home final.


Two English courses or permission of department.