English 258b
R. Mohan
T Th 11:30 -1p.m. 

 The Novel

This course is a survey of the British novel in the twentieth century, during which the form increasingly became fraught with self-consciousness and irony.  To an unprecedented extent, novelists themselves entered into skirmishes over questions such as: Should the novel describe the workings of historical reality or must it reveal the intricacies of the self and its inner life?  Should the novel, like other arts, assiduously pursue the perfection of its technique and medium or must it abandon itself vitally to chance, fluidity, and hybridity, appropriating and incorporating all manner of ideas and forms? Is representation ever objective or ideologically innocent?  Are conventions such as “realism,” “character,” “plot” and “narrator” meaningful or aesthetically interesting?  What are the novel’s unique pleasures in a world overridden by narratives in visual media?  What are the narrative energies specifically generated in the aftermath of British colonialism and the ensuing globalization of culture? We will explore the responses these questions have provoked in novels, statements by novelists, and narrative theory. 


Likely Texts:
Josph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (1902)
James Joyce, Chapters 1 and 4 of Ulysses (1922)
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse (1927)
Graham Greene, The Quiet American (1955)
Angela Carter The Passion of New Eve (1977)
John Fowles, The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981)
Salman Rushdie, Satanic Verses (1988)
Jeanette Winterson, Sexing the Cherry (1989)
Julian Barnes, England, England (1998)
Alan Hollinghurst, A Line of Beauty (2004)
Ian McEwan, Atonement (2007)

Course Requirements:  2 short essays (5-7 pages), a long research essay (10-12 pages), and a class presentation.

English 258b satisfies the “Introductory Emphasis” requirement for the Haverford English Major.