Post War to Postmodern: Literature 1945 - Present Day
(Year 3, Semester 2)
Convenor: Dr Emma Parker
Course code: EN3040
The aim of this module is to introduce students to the legacies of Modernism and to a selection of new literatures in English. It will investigate how the writing of the period - drama, poetry and fiction - reflects and responds to changes in post-war and contemporary culture (for example, the decline of empire, the impact of feminism, the development of media society and consumer culture), assessing the ways in which dominant ideologies are represented and contested. It also considers the challenges posed to the tradition of realism by the literature of the period and examines experiments and innovation in form.
Students will be invited to relate their study of named authors to questions about gender, class, race, sexuality and national identity, and about belief and authority, as well as issues of canonicity. The named authors are:
- Graham Greene;
- Sam Selvon;
- Samuel Beckett;
- Harold Pinter;
- Philip Larkin;
- Seamus Heaney;
- Angela Carter;
- Jeanette Winterson;
- Salman Rushdie;
- Sarah Kane;
- Bernardine Evaristo.
8 out of 11 authors will be studied in seminars. Students will be encouraged to develop their conceptual grasp of the intellectual and cultural contexts of contemporary writing, paying particular attention to feminism, postcolonialism and postmodernism.
The module will be delivered by a series of weekly lectures, seminars and screenings.
Lectures provide an introduction to issues explored on the module, background and socio-historical contextual information, and insights into current critical debates and controversies.
Seminars provide students with an opportunity to clarify, discuss and develop ideas and issues explored in the lecture. Screenings offer an opportunity to see productions of plays and to watch documentaries about authors. Primary reading must be completed in advance of the seminar and students are expected to contribute to discussion.
In order to help students prepare for the assessed essay (see details of assessment below) you are required to produce one non-assessed piece of work. This may take the form of, for example, a seminar presentation. Seminar tutors will provide further details at the beginning of the module.
By the end of the module students will be able to...
- undertake a close analysis of a number of key texts of the period;
- identify and discuss themes and concerns that characterise the literature of the period;
- situate texts in their historical, cultural, political and philosophical contexts;
- show an awareness of the formal, thematic and ideological issues at stake in defining the period in terms of the transition from modernism to postmodernism;
- undertake a comparative analysis of literature from across the period, describing and accounting for continuities and differences;
- demonstrate an informed awareness of a variety of theoretical approaches to studying the literature of the period;
- outline and assess the salient features of realism, and postcolonial and postmodern literature.
One 1,000-word passage analysis and one 3,000-word essay:
- The passage analysis will involve a close reading of no more than two pages of a novel, short story or play.
- Or one poem, selected by the student, that relates the chosen section to the text's broader themes and formal devices.
- The essay will explore a theme or issue relating to the literature of the period and will cover a minimum of two authors.
It is not permissable to use in an essay an author discussed in the passage analysis, but you may write about an author/text that you have discussed in a presentation.
The passage analysis will be submitted by 2.00pm on Friday 30 March.
The essay will be submitted by 2.00pm on Friday 18 May.
The passage analysis constitutes 30% of the final mark and the essay constitutes 70% of the final mark.
Many items are availabe on Short Loan in the library and many journal articles and book chapters are available on Blackboard.
Please refer to your handbook or Blackboard for detailed individual author bibliographies.
- Aijaz Ahmad, In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures
- R. Victoria Arana and Lauri Rarney, ed., Black British Writing
- Bill Ashcroft et al., The Empire Writes Back
- Bill Ashcroft et al. ed., The Post-Colonial Studies Reader
- Bill Ashcroft, Key Concepts in Post-Colonial Studies
- Firdous Azim, The Colonial Rise of the Novel
- Francis Barker, Peter Hulm and Margaret Iversen eds, Colonial Discourse/Postcolonial Theory
- Homi Bhabha, The Location of Culture
- Elleke Boehmer, Colonial and Postcolonial Literature: Migrant Metaphors
- Peter Childs and Patrick Williams, An Introduction to Post-Colonial Theory
- Ashley Dawson, Mongrel Nation: Diasporic Culture and the Making of Postcolonial Britain
- Alison Donnell, ed., Companion to Contemporary Black British Culture
- Leela Gandhi, Postcolonial Theory: A Critical Introduction
- Simon Gikandi, Maps of Englishness: Writing Identity in the Culture of Colonialism
- Paul Gilroy, Small Acts, Thoughts on the Politics of Black Cultures
Paul Gilroy, There Ain't No Black in the Union Jack: The Cultural Politics of Race and Nation
- David Gunning, Race and Antiracism in Black British and British Asian Literature
- Stuart Hall. 'Cultural Identity and Diaspora' in Jonathan Rutherford, ed., Identity, Community, Culture, Difference
- Stuart Hall, 'New Ethnicities' in James Donald and Ali Rattansi, ed., Race, Culture and Difference
- Ania Loomba, Colonialism/Postcolonialism
- John McLeod, Beginning Postcolonialism
- Bart Moore-Gilbert, Postcolonial Theory
- Kwesi Owusu, ed., Black British Culture and Society: A text Reader
- Mike Phillips and Trevor Phillips, Windrush: The Irresistible Rise of Multi-racial Britain
- James Procter, Dwelling Places, Postwar Black British Writing
- James Procter, Writing Black Britain 1948-1998
- Edward Said, Orientalism
- Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism
- Kadija Sesay, ed., Write Black, Write British: From Post Colonial to Black British Literature
- Dennis Walder, Post-Colonial Literatures in English: History, Language, Theory
- Patrick Williams and Laura Chrisman ed., Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial Theory: A Reader
- Stephen Baker, The Fiction of Postmodernity
- Mark Currie, Postmodern Narrative Theory
- Thomas Docherty, Postmodernism: A Reader
- Linda Hutcheon, A Poetics of Postmodernism
- Brian McHale, Postmodernist Fiction
- Patricia Waugh, Feminine Fictions: Revisiting the Postmodern
- Ziauddin Sardar, Postmodernism and the Other: The New Imperialism of Western Culture
- Tim Woods, Beginning Postmodernism
- Contemporary Literature
- Women: A Cultural Review
- Modern Fiction Studies
- Twentieth-century Literature.
Tuesday lectures: 12 noon in the Fielding Johnson South Wing Lecture Theatre
Friday lectures: 2 pm in Bennett Building Lecture Theatre 1
Friday screenings: 2-4 pm in Bennett Building Lecture Theatre 1
Check Blackboard for the most up-to-date information about dates, time and locations of lectures and screenings.
Introductory Lecture:: Context, Themes, Issues
| 3 February
||Graham Greene, The End of the Affair||MJS|
|7 February||Sam Selvon, The Lonely Londoners
|10 February||Samuel Beckett's Endgame (Screening)
|14 February||Samuel Beckett, Endgame||SG
|17 February||Harold Pinter The Homecoming (Screening)
|21 February||Harold Pinter's The Homecoming||MJS
|24 February||Philip Larkin, Whitsun Weddings
||Seamus Heaney, North
||Angela Carter The Passion of New Eve
||Angela Carter's Curious Room (Screening)||EP
||Jeanette Winterson The Passion
||Documentary about Jeanette Winterson
||Salman Rushdie, East, West
||Sarah Kane, Blasted
||Bernardine Evaristo, The Emperor's Babe