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A comparative study of eight novels in English that reflect or have helped to shape our sense of what Isaiah Berlin called "this most terrible century in Western history". The course will examine the notion that the breakdown of families, hierarchies and nineteenth century imperial certainties contributed to the proliferation of parodic, subversive, and dystopian novels as the twentieth century progressed.
In its investigation of the novels the course will also attend to the various critical contexts – modernism, Marxism, humanism, postmodernism, post-structuralism, feminism and post-colonialism – that have helped shaped the contemporary imagination.This course can be used towards an English major or minor. BA students who major in English would normally take at least two 100-level 15 point ENGL courses (which must include at least one of the following: ENGL117, ENGL102 or ENGL103), at least three 200-level 15 point ENGL courses, and at least two 300-level 30 point ENGL courses. Please see the BA regulations or a student advisor for more information.
In this course you will:develop an ability to consider both literary and cultural ways of reading a selection of past and contemporary fiction;engage with key ideas in the history and development of the novel form (as written in English);become familiar with a range of novels and the conditions of their production;develop an understanding of some of the historical and cultural movements that have shaped literature and literary criticism;further enhance your skills as an accurate, critical, and imaginative reader of textsfurther enhance your writing skills by constructing critical arguments, with a focus on the comparative literary analysis essay
Any 30 points at 200 level from ENGL, orany 60 points at 200 level from the Schedule V of the BA.
Students must attend one activity from each section.
Because of the substantial reading load, students are strongly advised to read as many novels as possible before classes commence. Class discussions will proceed on the assumption that all students have read the text. Text books (in order of study):• F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (1925) • Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse (1927)• Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited (1945) • George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) • Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966) • Keri Hulme, The Bone People (1983) • Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) • Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987) (Image: "Clockwork Orange eye scene" by Gwendal Uguen, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.)
Domestic fee $1,641.00
International fee $7,500.00
* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.
For further information see