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Semester 1

Novel and the Collapse of Humanism (ENLI10120)

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English Literature





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Visiting students must have completed 4 English Literature courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses, and we do not consider civilisation & other interdisciplinary courses, freshman seminars, writing/composition courses or film/cinema/media courses; visiting students who have taken multiple courses in literature in other languages, should have passed at least one course in English Literature as well. Applicants should note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission, and priority will be given to students studying on exchange within English Literature. **This is an *Option* course. Please note that students can only enrol in one Core and/or one Option 3rd year English Literature course per semester, with no exception. Students enrolled in this course therefore cannot enrol in any further Option courses during this semester** Please note that 3rd year English Literature courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces. Visiting students are advised to bear in mind that enrolment in specific courses can never be guaranteed, and you may need to be flexible in finding alternatives in case your preferred courses have no available space. These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.

Course Summary

This course examines the transition from the nineteenth-century 'realist' novel to the 'modern' novel of the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It focuses, in particular, upon the cultural and philosophical developments that helped to define and situate embryonic literary modernity. Readings of individual novels will be supplemented by other perspectives drawn from Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre and the modern continental philosophical tradition.

Course Description

This course has three particular aims in mind. The first is to deepen students' understanding of literary modernism by tracing its origins back to the 1860s and 1870s (rather than beginning in the post-Edwardian period as it is usually presented) and exploring how literary modernism and modern culture developed from a cluster of anxieties surrounding the fate of Western culture (including, but not limited to, the so-called "death of God" announced by Nietzsche and emerging movements of decolonisation which threatened European economic and cultural prestige). The second is to link this longer view of the emergence of literary modernism to a transformation or radicalisation of the so-called "Classic Realist novel" (represented on the course by George Eliot's Middlemarch) so that students are able to develop a much sharper sense of the relationship between literary "realism" and "modernism" more generally. And, third, the course aims to extend students' understanding of literary modernism by introducing them to a number of brilliant and provocative "post-realist" or "limit-modernist" texts from the wider European tradition, texts unavailable on other departmental courses (such as Doestoevsky's Notes From Underground, Flaubert's Madame Bovary, Thomas Mann's Death in Venice, Franz Kafka's The Trial and Celine's Journey to the End of the Night) so that they may gain a much broader understanding of the literary contexts and stylistic possibilities of modernist writing. As the course unfolds we will open up a wide range of questions for discussion including the nature of modern community and the (loss of) foundations of the nineteenth-century English State (Middlemarch), the relationships between gender, power and patriarchy (Middlemarch, Madame Bovary, A Passage to India) and race, power and imperialism (Heart of Darkness, A Passage to India, Journey to the End of the Night) that shape both modernist and modern culture, changing visions of the "human" and "human rights" (Notes from Underground, Journey to the End of the Night) and the origins of the modern totalitarian state (The Trial, Journey to the End of the Night). The seminars will encourage collaborative discussion and collective close reading focused on developing ideas and contexts to illuminate the key themes of the course. All texts are studied in English translation).

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 100%, Practical Exam 0%

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