Lit in English after 1900

This course will
examine literature in English in relationship to history. The intention is to
enable students, by the end of the semester, to recognize how literature
(novels, plays, poetry, essays) interacts with historical developments. Hence,
literature written in English after 1900 will be explored in the light of the
historical events of the twentieth century: movements for women’s liberation
and racial freedom, anticolonialism, communism and nationalism, experiences of
modernization, wars and nuclear threats, the rise of media culture. We will
consider literary texts in the context of such events and historical processes
in an exemplary way.  We will look at
British literature, American literature, and postcolonial literature in English
(Indian, African and Caribbean). While being attentive to differences amongst
the texts, we will also observe how literature written in English grows into a
global phenomenon. The class will be conducted in discussion format, including
online discussion. At various points, the readings will be supplemented by
films and handouts. Course work will consist of two exams (mid-term and final);
two essays of five pages each; and other shorter assignments. This class is
writing intensive (W focus).

Required Texts (available at Revolution Books; tentative
list; do not buy yet):

  1. Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
    (Norton Critical Edition)
  2. John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
    (uabridged Penguin edition)
  3. Samuel Beckett, Endgame
  4. Wole Soyinka, Death and the King’s
    Horseman (Norton Critical edition)
  5. Salman Rushdie, Haroun and the Sea
    of Stories
  6. Nadine Gordimer, July’s people
  7. Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place
  8. Toni Morrison, Tar Baby
  9. The Vintage Book of Contemporary
    American Poetry (ed. J. D. McClatchy)