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EN2K8/EN3K7 The Novel Now: Reading the Novel in the 21st Century


Module Credits: 15

Tutor(s): Prof Paulo de Medeiros

Office Hours (T2): tba

All information for the module currently on this site (not on Moodle).

The current reading list (2021-22) is set. I welcome suggestions from any student interested in the module for texts to include in future editions and will be listing them all here as received.

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: Digital Resources

Background reading (please prepare before the first seminar)

Terry Eagleton, 'What Is a Novel?' (first chapter of The English Novel, pp. 1-21)

Subject to changes every year

Reading List for 2021-2022 (please prepare the reading before the seminar)

Week 1: Olga Tokarczuk. Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead. 2009. [Poland]

Week 2: Dulce Maria Cardoso. The Return. 2011. [Portugal]

Week 3: Max Porter. Grief Is the Thing with Feathers. 2016. [UK]

Week 4: Jesmyn Ward. Sing, Unburied, Sing. 2017. [USA]

Week 5: Patrick Modiano. Invisible Ink. 2018. [France]

Week 6: Reading week

Week 7: Bernardine Evaristo. Girl, Woman, Other. 2019. [UK]

Week 8: Sally Rooney. Normal People. 2019. [Ireland]

Week 9: Kazuo Ishiguro. Klara and the Sun. 2020. [UK]

Week 10: Oyinkan Braithwaite. My Sister, the Serial Killer. 2019. [Nigeria]


1 3000 Words Essay (EN2K8)

1 3500 Words Essay and 1 individual handout and presentation (EN3K7)

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)