CMLT679C - Topics in Comparative Studies; Realism

(This course is cross-listed as ENGL768. It is the same course with the same content. Registering under either section will still count for a 700 level seminar requirement.)

Realism. In this graduate seminar we will take a our starting point Zadie Smith’s famous/infamous essay on “Two Paths for the Novel,” in which she pitted Joseph O’Neil’s Netherlands against Tom McCarthy’s Remainder, describing the former as a work of lyrical realism and the other as ““an alternate road down which the novel might,  with difficulty, move forward.” A critique and dismissal of realism lay at the heart of this essay.  We will read the essay and the two novels and then move back and forward examining novels by writers who exemplified realism in three national traditions, French, British and the US. We will then read at least 3 novels that epitomize different modes of realism from Africa, the Caribbean and South Asia. We will also read theoretical works on realism, which will consider the techniques and subject matter of realism; the epistemology of realism and the politics and the ethics of realism. Students will engage with each other in a blog, write a conference abstract and a seminar paper of 20-25 pages.