609790 British and/or Postcolonial Literature: Narratives of Self-Deception

winter semester 2018/2019 | Last update: 04.08.2021 Place course on memo list
609790
British and/or Postcolonial Literature: Narratives of Self-Deception
PS 2
2,5
weekly
each semester
English

Students will familiarize themselves with methods of the analysis of narrative fiction, in particular narrative theory. They will enhance their ability to perform close readings, select and critically discuss relevant research, and they will train how to combine these tasks to produce a scholarly argument in their research paper. Moreover, narratives of self-deception will serve as an exemplary case study to discuss how literature reflects changing notions about identity, success and the relation between self and society.

Protagonists who cling to ideas about themselves and the world around them that are patently inadequate are a popular subject in narrative fiction. One reason may be that the human capacity to ignore or enhance uncomfortable aspects of reality is a fascinating subject. Another reason could be that the topic presents an intriguing challenge to the novelist: to create a narrative that reveals a gap between an individual's sense of self and the world around them.

In this seminar, we will study how authors in different centuries have tackled this challenge. We will juxtapose two contemporary 'narratives of self deception' (Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day and Olivia Sudjic's Sympathy) with two 19th-century classics (Charles Dickens' Great Expectations and Jane Austen's Emma). Special attention will be paid to narrative form, so be prepared for excursions into narrative theory. As a launching point into the topic, we will examine a short text that has recently caused a stir on social media, arguably because of its status as a narrative of self-deception: Kristen Roupenian's "Cat Person". Please read the story for the first session and bring a print-out.

Discussion, presentations, group work, writing/research assignments, course blog

 

Oral (active participation in class) and written (participation in the course blog, short writing assignments during the semester, final paper)

Please buy your own copy of the following texts (preferably in the edition referred to here):

 

Ishiguro, Kazuo. The Remains of the Day. London: Faber and Faber, 2005 [1989].

Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Ed. Edgar Rosenberg. Norton Critical Edition. New York/London: Norton 1999 [1860-1].

Austen, Jane. Emma. Ed. Fiona Stafford. London: Penguin 2003 [1815]. (Penguin Classics Edition)

Sudjic, Olivia. Sympathy. London: Pushkin 2017.

 

We will read the novels in the sequence indicated in this list. As some of them are quite long, it is a good idea to start reading early. There are many editions of the 'classics' (Austen, Dickens) available. It is a good idea to buy one that has been checked, annotated and introduced by scholars (Penguin Classics and Norton Critical Editions are generally good choices – concrete suggestions above). Additional material will be made available.

 

As a launching point into the topic, we will discuss the short story "Cat Person" by Kristen Roupenian (published in the New Yorker, 2017). Please read the story and bring a print-out to the first session.

BA 2015: positive completion of compulsory module 10

BA 2009: positive completion of compulsory module 16

Teacher Training Programme BA 2015: positive completion of compulsory module 13

Due to substantial differences in the allocation of ECTS-Credits in various curricula (teacher training program - BA/MA English and American Studies), the requirements for this course vary. Information will be provided by the instructor at the beginning of the course.

 

03.10.2018
Group 0
Date Time Location
Wed 2018-10-03
08.30 - 10.00 50105/2 SR 50105/2 SR Barrier-free
Wed 2018-10-10
08.30 - 10.00 50105/2 SR 50105/2 SR Barrier-free
Wed 2018-10-17
08.30 - 10.00 50105/2 SR 50105/2 SR Barrier-free
Wed 2018-10-24
08.30 - 10.00 50105/2 SR 50105/2 SR Barrier-free
Wed 2018-10-31
08.30 - 10.00 50105/2 SR 50105/2 SR Barrier-free
Wed 2018-11-07
08.30 - 10.00 50105/2 SR 50105/2 SR Barrier-free
Wed 2018-11-14
08.30 - 10.00 50105/2 SR 50105/2 SR Barrier-free
Wed 2018-11-21
08.30 - 10.00 50105/2 SR 50105/2 SR Barrier-free
Wed 2018-11-28
08.30 - 10.00 50105/2 SR 50105/2 SR Barrier-free
Wed 2018-12-05
08.30 - 10.00 50105/2 SR 50105/2 SR Barrier-free
Wed 2018-12-12
08.30 - 10.00 50105/2 SR 50105/2 SR Barrier-free
Wed 2019-01-09
08.30 - 10.00 50105/2 SR 50105/2 SR Barrier-free
Wed 2019-01-16
08.30 - 10.00 50105/2 SR 50105/2 SR Barrier-free
Wed 2019-01-23
08.30 - 10.00 50105/2 SR 50105/2 SR Barrier-free
Wed 2019-01-30
08.30 - 10.00 50105/2 SR 50105/2 SR Barrier-free