ENGL457 - The Modern Novel

Prerequisite: Two English courses in literature; or permission of ARHU-English department.

Modernism in the novel of the twentieth century. Such writers as Joyce, Lawrence, Murdoch, James, Forster, Faulkner, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Ellison, Welty, Nabokov and Malamud.

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 characters who read (and what happens to them); the nature of the implied reader of realism, modernism, and postmodernism; and the difference of female, minority, and postcolonial reading--and writing back. We will begin with an example of the realist tradition. We will go on to look at the transformations made by major modernists like Joyce, Woolf, Faulkner, and Katherine Ann Porter, and move on to playful examples by writers like Nabokov and Queneau. We will then examine modern novels from Africa and Latin America, and conclude with the unusual and fascinating fiction of postmodernism, reading writers like Samuel Beckett, Italo Calvino, and Angela Carter. We will conclude by reading a hyperfition 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.