Imperial and Anti-imperial Writing

An examination of a variety of different modes of fiction developed across the twentieth century by writers from several continents as they have engaged with the immediate actualities and long aftermaths of European and American imperial involvements in Ireland, the West Indies, Africa and Asia. The focus will be on modernist, realist, romance, epic and historical narrative forms and on their cross-fertilization and critical possibilities. Authors to be discussed may include Joseph Conrad, Thomas Mann, James Joyce, C. L. R. James, Doris Lessing, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’oMarguerite Duras, Monique Truong, Amitav Ghosh, Joseph O’Neill and Ronan Bennett.

Student Performance: Students are expected to attend class punctually, to be well-prepared, to contribute regularly and meaningfully to discussions, and to be constructively engaged in the ways that make for good seminars. You will also be required to submit two or three questions in advance of some of the classes in order to facilitate class discussion and to sharpen and develop ideas prior to discussions. Writing for this course involves completing two essays (12-15 pages each). No final exam.

Key Texts:

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (1899)

Joseph Conrad, Nostromo (1904)

Thomas Mann, Death in Venice (1912)

James Joyce, Dubliners (1914)

James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916)

C. L. R. James, The Black Jacobins (1938)

Doris Lessing, The Grass is Singing (1950)

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, A Grain of Wheat (1967)

Marguerite Duras, The Lover (1984) 

Monique Truong, The Book of Salt (2003)

Joseph O’Neill, Netherlands (2008)

Ronan Bennett, The Catastrophist (1997)

Also LITR 314.

Undergraduate Course #: 
M 9:25am-11:15am
WR, Hu
20th/21st Century