ENGL749M - Studies in Twentieth-Century Literature; Modern Fiction, the Global Intertext, and Writing Back
Syllabus:
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This course will examine the nature and functions of modern and postmodern rewritings of earlier narratives. We will begin with a look at Angela Carter’s feminist rewrites of classic fairy tales and the rewriting of several mythic narratives in Joyce’s “The Dead” and Synge’s Playboy of the Western World. We’ll go on to examine selections from Conrad’s reworking of Shakespeare’s The Tempest in Victory and then discuss three postcolonial rewritings of the play: Aimé Cesaire’s A Tempest, Beckett’s Endgame, and Michelle Cliff’s No Telephone to Heaven, and then continue with Conrad’s Lord Jim and a Caribbean (Paule Marshall) reworking of the novel. The class will then focus on nearly a century of rewritings of “Heart of Darkness” by Langston Hughes, Cuban modernist Alejo Carpentier, and contemporary French feminist Marie Darrieussecq, as well as postcolonial rewritings by Chinua Achebe (Nigeria), Wilson Harris (Trinidad), Caryl Phillips (St Kitts), Salman Rushdie (India), and Tayeb Salih (Sudan). Note: Salih’s Season of Migration to the North is also a rewriting of Othello. We will conclude with Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad. Throughout, we will explore theories of intertextuality (Bakhtin, Kristeva), rewriting (Cowart, Moraru, Nancy Walker), the global novel, and reception, with an emphasis on postcolonial rewritings.

Requirements: Two 8 page papers, one in-class presentation, one short research assignment.