ENGL8600: Sem Modern Lit (49629)

Parkes, Adam

TR 12:45 PM

Park Hall 139

The first two decades of the twenty-first century saw an explosion of major new fiction in Britain.  This seminar will explore some of its results.  Reading works written in the realist tradition together with experimental texts, we will consider how the fiction of the twenty-first century engages with its time; we will consider, too, how this fiction sometimes resists its context.  We will discuss how far themes of class, money, status, family, and marriage continue to shape the English novel as an artistic form, as well as teasing out the literary consequences of issues that loom large in the contemporary world, such as global finance, the welfare state, immigration, multiculturalism, and national and international identity.  Another recurrent theme will be the question of how twenty-first-century fiction responds to the historical and aesthetic legacies of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.   

The seminar will be in-person only unless circumstances dictate otherwise.  A reading list is provided below.  Please obtain the editions specified, either from the UGA bookstore or online (second-hand sellers advertised on Amazon offer some very good deals).  Reading ahead during the summer is recommended, as some of the novels are quite substantial -- especially the first four we will read (those by McEwan, Hollinghurst, Ali, and Smith).   

Monica Ali, Brick Lane (Scribner, 2004.  ISBN: 978-0743243315).                                       

Tessa Hadley, Bad Dreams and Other Stories (Harper Perennial, 2020.  978-0062476678).                    

Alan Hollinghurst, The Line of Beauty (Bloomsbury, 2005.  1582346100).                                   

Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (Vintage, 2006.  1400078776).                           

Kazuo Ishiguro, Klara and the Sun (Knopf, 2021.  978-0593318171).                                                

Tom McCarthy, Remainder (Vintage, 2007.  0307278352).                                                      

Tom McCarthy, C. (Knopf, 2010. 0307593339).                                                                                     

Ian McEwan, Atonement (Anchor, 2003.  038572179X).                                                             

Zadie Smith, On Beauty (Penguin, 2006. 0143037749).                                                         

Lucy Wood, The Sing of the Shore (Fourth Estate, 2019.  0008193401).