Prose Fiction

Prose fiction covers novels and short
stories. In this course we will look at a variety of short stories and novels
of (mostly) the twentieth century written in English. By most accounts, the novel
as we have it today began in Europe and was carried to the rest of the world
during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Our purpose will be to
appreciate the novel in English as a global phenomenon that draws on the
cultural energies of a variety of geographical locations. We will begin the
semester by considering nineteenth-century novels and short stories written in
the United Kingdom and the US and then how novelists and short story writers
extended and revised the novelistic techniques of the nineteenth century.
Subsequently, we will explore how writers in Africa and India in their turn
extended and amended the prior work in English. We will also be attentive to
the variety of narrative modes—modernist, postcolonial, historical, feminist—in
which these prose fiction is written. The course will be equally concerned with
literary issues such as novel structure or particular uses of language and with
placing the novels within their broad political and historical contexts. Class
sessions will emphasize lively discussions and student participation (through
group work, web-based work, and debates, for example).


Required Texts

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

E. M. Forster,
A Passage to India

Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury

Anita Desai, Clear Light of Day

Nadine Gordimer, July’s People

Ngozie Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun

Halpern, The Art of the Tale

Supplementary readings


and Class Work:

Course work will consist of two exams
(mid-term and final); two essays of six pages each; and other less formal
assignments. The exams and essays—each of equal weightage—will constitute 80%
of the grade. The remaining 20% will be based on the in-class and web-based
assignments, class participation and attendance.