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EN??? The Novel Now: Reading the Novel in the 21st Century


Module Credits: 15

Tutor(s): Prof Paulo de Medeiros

Lecture and/or Seminar times and location: tba

Module Outline: 

The module aims to explore the contemporary novel. Texts are chosen from a changing array of novels from across the world, and published very recently. At its core is the notion of the contemporary and the interrelations between narrative and social, political and historical issues. The module complements the systematic study of the novel as a genre provided in two other modules: EN201 The European Novel and EN265 The Global Novel.

Pathway information (for students who enrolled on their course prior to 2019/20): [details of how the module fulfils pathway requirements if applicable]


Reading List: [link to the Talis Aspire reading list for the module]

Subject to changes every year

Week 1: Günter Grass. Crabwalk. 2002

Week 2: Olga Tokarczuk. Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead. 2009

Week 3: Dulce Maria Cardoso. The Return. 2011

Week 4: Sara Gran. Claire De Witt and The City of the Dead. 2011

Week 5: Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. Americanah. 2014

Week 6: Reading week

Week 7: Chico Buarque de Holanda. My German Brother. 2014

Week 8: Kamel Daoud. The Meursault Investigation. 2015

Week 9: Anna Burns. Milkman. 2018

Week 10: Rachel Kushner. The Mars Room. 2018


1 3500 Words Essay and 1 individual handout and presentation

Objectives and outcomes: By the end of this module you should be able to

  1. Critically analyse novels from a range of critical perspectives
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the novel’s relationship to key political and social issues affecting contemporary society
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of how the novel has been conceptualized and received in the 21C
  4. Compare and select different theoretical methods of cultural and political analysis (to be demonstrated through the class presentation and final essay).
  5. Research and construct a convincing argument, drawing on appropriate resources (to be demonstrated through the final essay)
  6. Demonstrate detailed knowledge of the major critical approaches studied in the module (world-systems theory, memory studies, critical theory, and genre theory)