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EN2C7/EN3C7 Devolutionary British Fiction

Convenor: Professor Michael Gardiner

This module looks at issues of political power, representation and democracy, and decline in Britain, particularly in terms of the relation of constituent nations to the whole and to British empire. It does not present a group of texts that are 'devolutionary', but rather looks at how late-British and 'post-British' values might point to new ways of reading. The module might be thought of as a set of questions about the mythologies of Britishness. It looks at post-1940 texts for themes including the founding form of the British state, questions of nationality, immigration, and constitutional crises (particularly devolution, but up to and including Brexit). There are no specific requirements for students beginning this module. By the end, after seminars and personal reading, there should be some familiarity with the broad historical parameters, particularly the two sets of national devolution referendums (1979, 1997), the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, and ongoing issues of constitutional change and pressure for Scottish self-determination. We are likely to also consider: ‘democratic deficit’ - that is, the way that power, particularly after 1979, has seemed ‘far away’ from the people, and responses to democratic deficit throughout the UK; consensus, its links to the welfare state and to neoliberalism, and attacks on and defences of ‘British values’ - empire and neo-imperialism; the cultural forms of British empire; migration and ‘postcolonial melancholia’; questions of place, experience, physicality, violence, addiction, and ‘embodiedness’; English Literature’s conception of a canon, how this came about and the pressures on it in an era of devolution and 'post-Britishness'; language and dialect, and the politics of Standard and non-Standard English.

Each week there will be one set text, which is compulsory, and familiarity with which, and some thought about which, is a condition of attendance. There will also be a couple of recommended texts, which are not compulsory but which it is in your own interest to look at.
Please note that the library isn't responsible for making set texts available; you are asked to buy all set texts. You should do this as far in advance as possible, and in week one we will talk about availability of set and recommended texts, and confirm the text list.

There is no requirement to have any specific A-Levels, for example in History or Politics, and there is no need for any specific knowledge in this fields, only a willingness to read around the subject. You are expected to investigate the historical backgrounds of the periods in which we read, and after years of thought we've decided not to recommend specific history books (or documentaries): whatever you like for the period you're interested in - as long as you read critically. Historical embedding is important to all modules in the department, not this one particularly, but if you are struggling with contexts you can consider this a 'post-1940 fiction' module.

Please note that the tutors on this module are not offering personal opinions, but rather are trying to prompt debate.

There is one seminar a week - for which you will have to have become familiar with the set text and be ready to take about it - and no lectures. There are no seminars in Term Three, but office hours continue.
(** PS MARCH 2020 - office hours by real-time email or phone - email first **)


Assessment is by two 4000 word essays or two 5000 word essays (see below). We will be available during office hours to discuss any aspects of the module or any themes or interests arising from it, but for the sake of fairness we try to limit the extent to which tutors can help individual students construct essays. You can see the essays as an on-going project you carry with you throughout the year, and make notes with the essays in mind as soon as you can. Students will choose their own titles (nb this is different from 2019-20, when there was a system of essay titles being negotiated with the convenor).

Intermediate Years:
2 x 4000 word essays

Final Years:
2 x 5000 word essays


SYLLABUS 2019-20

1. Introduction, no preparation required

1. Consensus

2. SET: George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), and ‘England, Your England’ (1941) (students should have personal copies of all SET texts)
RECOMMENDED: Orwell, ‘Politics and the English Language’ (1946), ‘Notes on Nationalism’ (1945) (widely available online), recommend Penguin Essays
RECOMMENDED: Nikolas Rose, Governing the Soul (1989)

3. SET: Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange (1962)
RECOMMENDED: dir. Stanley Kubrick, A Clockwork Orange (1971) (available on Box of Broadcasts)
RECOMMENDED: Anthony Burgess, 1985 (1978) (2013 edition through Warwick Library)

4. SET: Muriel Spark, The Ballad of Peckham Rye (1960)
RECOMMENDED: Alan Sillitoe, ‘The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner’ (story) (1959) (may be available online)
RECOMMENDED: The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner (film) (1962)
RECOMMENDED: Robert Louis Stevenson, ‘The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ (1886) (widely available online)

5. SET: Raymond Williams, The Volunteers (1978)
RECOMMENDED: Raymond Williams, Culture and Society (1958) (2014 edition through Warwick library)
RECOMMENDED: Universities and Left Review first three numbers (1957-60) (available online)

7. SET: Gillian Slovo, Ten Days (2016)
RECOMMENDED: Gillian Slovo, The Riots (2011)
RECOMMENDED: J.G. Ballard, Kingdom Come (2006)

2. Thatcherism

8. SET: Chris Mullin, A Very British Coup (1982)
RECOMMENDED: Tom Nairn, The Break-Up of Britain (1977)

9. SET: David Peace, GB84 (2004)
RECOMMENDED: Seumas Milne, The Enemy Within: The Secret War Against the Miners (1994)
RECOMMENDED: dir. and wr. Bernard Jackson and Tony Wardle, The Battle for Orgreave (1986) (on youtube)
RECOMMENDED: Frank Kitson, Low Intensity Operations: Subversion, Insurgency, and Peacekeeping (1971)

10. SET: dir. Steve McQueen, Hunger (2008) (Box of Broadcasts)
RECOMMENDED: dir. Terry George, Some Mother's Son (1996)
RECOMMENDED: Timothy Shanahan, The Provisional Irish Republican Army and the Morality of Terrorism (2009) (ebook through Warwick Library)

3. The Second Scottish Literary Renaissance

11. SET: Alasdair Gray, Lanark (1981)
RECOMMENDED: R.D. Laing, The Divided Self (1961) (version may be online)
RECOMMENDED: Cairns Craig, The Modern Scottish Novel (1999) (ebook through Warwick library)

12. SET: James Kelman, How Late It Was, How Late (1994)
RECOMMENDED: James Kelman, And the Judges Said... (2002) (ebook through Warwick library)
RECOMMENDED: essays from ed. Scott Hames, The Edinburgh Companion to James Kelman (2010) (ebook through Warwick library)

13. SET: Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting (1993)
RECOMMENDED: essays in ed. Berthold Schoene, The Edinburgh Companion to Contemporary Scottish Literature (Edinburgh: EUP, 2007) (ebook is through Warwick Library)
RECOMMENDED: dir. Danny Boyle, Trainspotting (1996) (Box of Broadcasts)

14. SET: Janice Galloway, The Trick is to Keep Breathing (1989)

4. Melancholia, Mapping, Nostalgia, Hauntology

15. SET: J.G. Ballard, Concrete Island (1974)
RECOMMENDED: Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (1719) (widely available online)
RECOMMENDED: Muriel Spark, Robinson (1958)

17. Jez Butterworth, Jersusalem (2009)
RECOMMENDED: Ian Baucom, Out of Place: Englishness, Empire, and the Locations of Identity (1999) (ebook through Warwick library)
RECOMMENDED: essays from eds. Claire Westall and Michael Gardiner, Literature of an Independent England (2013) (ebook through Warwick Library)

18. SET: Mark Fisher, Ghosts of My Life (2014)
RECOMMENDED: Jacques Derrida, Specters of Marx (1993/ 1994) (ebook through Warwick Library)
RECOMMENDED: Belbury Poly, From an Ancient Star (audio) (2009) (Spotify/ other streaming services)
RECOMMENDED: Richard Littler, Discovering Scarfolk (2014)

19. SET: Laura Oldfield Ford, Savage Messiah (2011)
RECOMMENDED: Iain Sinclair, London Orbital (2000)

20. SET: dir. Robin Hardy, The Wicker Man (1973) (Box of Broadcasts)
RECOMMENDED: Adam Scovell, Folk Horror (2017)




(Sections 1-2, covering Term One, will be re-expanded in 2021)

1. Consensus

Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, 2006 (1983)) (ebook is through Warwick library)

Alexander Broadie, The Cambridge Companion to the Scottish Enlightenment (Cambridge: CUP, 2003) (ebook is through Warwick library)

Angus Calder, The Myth of the Blitz (London: Johnathan Cape, 1991)

Stanley Cohen, Folk Devils and Moral Panics (London: Routledge, 2011) (ebook is through Warwick Library)

G.E. Davie, The Democratic Intellect: Scotland and Her Universities in the Nineteenth Century (Ednburgh: EUP, 2013 (1961))

William Davies, The Limits of Neoliberalism (London: Sage, 2014) (ebook is through Warwick library)

Daniel Defoe, History of the Union (any edition (1709)) (easily findable online)

Stuart Hall et al., Policing the Crisis (London: Palgrave 2013 (1978))

Owen Hatherley, Militant Modernism (Winchester: Zer0, 2014)

eds. Michael Gardiner and Willy Maley, The Edinburgh Companion to Muriel Spark (Edinburgh: EUP, 2011)
 (ebook is through Warwick library)

Michael Gardiner, Time and Action in the Scottish Independence Referendum (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2015)
 (ebook is through Warwick library)

Derek Jarman, wr and dir, Jubilee (1978):

Derek Jarman, wr and dir, The Last of England (1988)

John Locke, Two Treatises on Government (any edition (1689)) (widely available online)

John McLeod, Postcolonial London (London: Routledge, 2004) (ebook is through Warwick library)

Martin McQuillan, Theorising Muriel Spark (Bastingstoke: Palgrave, 2000) (ebook is through Warwick library)

Tom Maschler, Declaration (London: McKIbbon and Kee, 1957)

Mary Poovey, Genres of the Credit Economy (Chicago: Chicago UP, 2008) (ebook is through Warwick library)

Karel Reisz, dir, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (available on Box of Broadcasts)

Nikolas Rose, Governing the Soul: The Shaping of the Private Self (London: Free Association, 1999 (1991))

Alan Sillitoe, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (any edition (1958))

Situationist International, Anthology of Sources and Documents:

Muriel Spark, Robinson (any edition (1958))

Universities and Left Review 1957-60

various directors, Free Cinema (London: BFI, 2006 (1952-63)) (this is a DVD, but look at related BFI material, e.g. on their youtube channel)

Raymond Williams, Culture and Society (any edition (1958)) (cf. Essential Writings 2014 - ebook is through Warwick library)


2. Thatcherism

Andrew Gamble, The Strong Economy and the Free State (1988)

John Medhurst, That Option No Longer Exists: Britain 1974-76 (Winchester: Zer0, 2014)

The Miners' Campaign Tapes DVD (2009):

Tom Nairn, After Britain: New Labour and the Return of Scotland (London: Granta, 2000)

Jon Savage, England's Dreaming (London: Faber and Faber, 2005 (1991))

Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (any edition (1776)) (widely available online)

Alwyn Turner, Crisis? What Crisis?: Britain in the 1970s (London: Aurum, 2013 (2008))


3. The Second Scottish Literary Renaissance

Various essays in ed. James Acheson, The Contemporary British Novel (Edinburgh: EUP, 2005) (ebook is through Warwick library)

Timothy C. Baker, ‘Scottish Utopian Fiction and the Invocation of God’, Utopian Studies 21-1, 2010 (available through JSTOR)

Robert Boyers, Laing and Anti-Psychiatry (London: Penguin, 1973)

eds. Brown, Clancy, Manning, Pittock, The Edinburgh History of Scottish Literature, Vol 3 (Edinburgh: EUP, 2007)(ebook is through Warwick library)

Joseph Brooker, Literature After the 1980s: After the Watershed (Edinburgh: EUP, 2010) (ebook is through Warwick Library)

David Cooper, The Language of Madness (1978)

Cairns Craig, 'Resisting Arrest: James Kelman', in eds. Randall and Wallace, The Scottish Novel Since the Seventies (Edinburgh: EUP, 1993)

Cairns Craig, Out of History: Narrative Paradigms in Scottish and English Culture (Edinburgh: Polygon, 1996)

Cairns Craig, ‘1979, Edinburgh and Glasgow: Devolution Deferred’, in ed. Randall Stevenson, The Edinburgh Companion to Twentieth Century Literatures in English (Edinburgh: EUP, 2006) (available through JSTOR)

Cairns Craig, ed. The History of Scottish Literature, Vol. 4, The Twentieth Century (Aberdeen: Aberdeen UP, 1987)
 (no ebook, but see eds. Brown et al above)

Robert Crawford, Devolving English Literature (Edinburgh: EUP, 2001 (1992))

Owen Dudley Edwards, A Claim of Right for Scotland (Edinburgh: Polygon, 1989)

Michael Gardiner, ‘British Territory: Irvine Welsh in English and Japanese’, Textual Practice 17-1, 2001 (available through JSTOR)

Felix Guattari, 'The Divided Laing' in ed. Gary Genosko, The Guattari Reader (Oxford: Blackwell, 1996 (1970))

Various essays in ed. Scott Hames, The Edinburgh Companion to James Kelman (Edinburgh: EUP, 2010) (ebook is through Warwick library)

Christopher Harvie, Scotland and Nationalism: Scottish Society and Politics 1707 to the Present (Routledge, 2004 (1977)) (ebook is through Warwick Library)

Gerry Hassan, The Modern SNP: From Protest to Power (Edinburgh: EUP, 2009) (ebook is through Warwick library)

Franz Kafka, The Trial, 1925 (widely available online)

Michael Keating, Nations Against the State (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001 (1996)) (ebook is through Warwick library)

James Kelman, A Chancer (Edinburgh: Polygon, 2009 (1985))

Simon Kovesi, James Kelman (Manchester: MUP, 2007) (ebook is through Warwick library)

David McCrone, Understanding Scotland: Sociology of a Stateless Nation (any edition (1989)) (ebook is through Warwick library)

Iain McLean, What's Wrong With the British Constitution? (Oxford: OUP, 2010) (ebook is through Warwick library)

Gavin Miller, ‘Literary Narrative as Sociology in the Work of Kurt Vonnegut and Alasdair Gray’, Journal of Narrative Theory 31-3, 2001 (available through JSTOR)

Gavin Miller, Alasdair Gray: the Fiction of Communion (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2005) (ebook is through Warwick library)

Duncan Petrie, Contemporary Scottish Fictions: Film, Television and the Novel (Edinburgh: EUP, 2004)

Alan Riach, Representing Scotland in Literature, Popular Culture, and Iconography (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2005) (ebook is through Warwick library)

ed. Alan Riach, The Edinburgh Companion to Twentieth-Century Scottish Literature (Edinburgh: EUP, 2009) (ebook is through Warwick library)

Various essays in Berthold Schoene, ed., The Edinburgh Companion to Irvine Welsh (Edinburgh: EUP, 2010) (ebook is through Warwick library)

Thomas Szasz, The Myth of Mental Illness (New York: Harper Perennial, 2010 (1961))

David Torrance, 'We in Scotland': Thatcherism in a Cold Climate (Edinburgh: Birlinn, 2009)

Peter Trudgill, Sociolinguistics: an introduction to language and society (London: Penguin, 2000 (1974))


4. Melancholia, Mapping, Nostalgia, Hauntology

Arthur Aughey, The Politics of Englishness (Manchester: MUP, 2007) (ebook is through Warwick library)

J.G. Ballard, Kingdom Come (London: Fourth Estate, 2006)

Jeanette Baxter, J.G. Ballard: Contemporary Critical Perspectives. London: Continuum, 2009 (ebook is through Warwick library)

Various essays in Nick Bentley et al. ed., The 2000s: A Decade of Contemporary British Fiction (London: Bloomsbury, 2015)

G.K. Chesterton, The Secret People, 1908: 

Robert Colls, The Identity of England (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 2002/ 2009 (ebook is through Warwick library)

Laura Colombino, Spatial Politics in Contemporary London Literature (New York: Routledge, 2013) (ebook is through Warwick library)

Merlin Coverley, Psychogeography (Pocket Essentials, 2010) (ebook is through Warwick library)

Condor, Susan. ‘Devolution and National Identity: The Rules of English (Dis)engagement’. Nations and Nationalism 16, 2010: 525-543 (available through JSTOR)

Michael Doyle, English and Englishness (London: Routledge, 1989) (ebook is through Warwick library)

Matt Colquohon, Egress: On Mourning, Melancholy, and Mark Fisher (London: Repeater, 2020)

ed. Robert Eaglestone, Brexit and Literature (London: Routledge, 2018) (ebook is through Warwick library)

Jed Esty, A Shrinking Island: Modernism and National Culture in England (Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003/ 2004) (ebook is through Warwick library)

Simon Featherstone, Englishness: Twentieth-Century Popular Culture and the Forming of English Identity (Edinburgh: EUP, 2009) (ebook is through Warwick library)

Brian Finney, English Fiction Since 1984: Narrating a Nation (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006) (ebook is through Warwick library)

Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism (Winchester: Zer0, 2009) (ebook is through Warwick library)

Mark Fisher, 'What is Hauntology?' Film Quaterly 66-1, 2012: 

Mark Fisher, ‘The Slow Cancellation of the Future’:

Mark Fisher, k-punk: Collected and Unpublished Writings (London: Repeater, 2018)

Samuel Francis, The Psychological Fictions of J.G Ballard (London Bloomsbury 2013)

Michael Gardiner, The Return of England in English Literature (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2012)
 (ebook is through Warwick library)

David Graeber, The Utopia of Rules (London: Random House, 2015)

Paul Gilroy, There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack: The Cultural Politics of Race and Nation (London: Routledge, 2002) (ebook is through Warwick library)

Robert Hazell, ed., The English Question (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2006)

Howard Ingham, Jon Dear, et al., We Don’t Go Back: A Watcher’s Guide to Folk Horror (self-published, 2018)

Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space (Oxford: Blackwell, 1991) (2011 edition - ebook is through Warwick library)

Patrick Keiller, dir, Robinson in Ruins (2011)

Michael Kenny, The Politics of English Nationhood (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014) (ebook is through Warwick library)

Krishnan Kumar, The Making of English National Identity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003/ 2010) (ebook is through Warwick library)

Iain McLean, What’s Wrong With the British Constitution? (Oxford: OUP, 2010) (ebook is through Warwick library)

Richard Mabey, The Unofficial Countryside (London: Little Toller Books 2010)

James Mitchell, ‘England and the Centre’. Regional Studies 36-7, 2002 (available through JSTOR)

H.V. Morton, In Search of England, 1927, any edition (widely available online)

Paul Kingsnorth, Real England (London: Portobello, 2008)

Paul Kingsnorth, The Wake (Unbound, 2015)

Lee Rozelle, ‘“I am the Island”: Dystopia and Ecocidal Imagination in Rushing to Paradise, Super-Cannes, and Concrete Island’, Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment 17-1, 2010 (available through JSTOR)

Harlan Wilson, J.G. Ballard (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2017) (ebook is through Warwick Library)

Mark Perryman, ed., Imagined Nation: England after Britain (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 2008)

Iain Sinclair, Sorry Meniscus (London: Profile, 1999)

Ben Wheatley, dir., A Field in England, 2013 (Box of Broadcasts)

Simon Reynolds, Retromania (London: Faber, 2012)

J.B. Priestley, English Journey, 1934/ any edition (widely available online)

Ken Russell, dir, wr. Christopher Logue, Savage Messiah, 1972

Duncan Petrie, ‘Scottish Gothic and the Moving Image: A Tale of Two Traditions’, in ed. Carol Margaret Davison, Scottish Gothic: An Edinburgh Companion (Edinburgh: EUP, 2017) (available through JSTOR)

Jonathan Rigby, English Gothic: Classic Horror Cinema 1897-2015 (Cambridge: Signum, 2015)

James Rose, Beyond Hammer: British Horror Cinema Since 1970 (Leighton Buzzard: Auteur, 2009)

Ivor Southwood, Non-Stop Inertia (Winchester: Zer0, 2011) (ebook is through Warwick Library)

Katy Shaw, Hauntology (London: Palgrave, 2018) (ebook is through Warwick Library)

Ben Wellings, English Nationalism, Brexit and the Anglosphere (Manchester: MUP, 2019)

Hauntological music: Ghost Box label, Boards of Canada, Broadcast, Vaporwave and Hardvapor, Daniel Lopatin, James Ferraro, Ikonika, Actress, Philip Jeck, Position Normal, ‘neo-’80s’ e.g. Drab Majesty, C21 postpunk revival, ‘New Retro’, Sovietwave (many youtube/ Spotify lists), Eastern European retro synth, Афина, ‘Ostalgie’ etc., '8-bit composition'...

The original Folk Horror triad: The Wicker Man and dir. Michael Reeves, Witchfinder General (1968) and dir. Piers Haggard, Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971) (all Box of Broadcasts)

Advice on Writing Essays