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Postmodernism: Breaking the Frames of Fiction
Course code: ELCS6018
Tutor: Dr Florian Mussgnug
Mode of Assessment: 2 assessed essays of 2000 words each
Term: taught in term 1
This course introduces students to the history and creative techniques of postmodern literature, through the works of five distinguished modern novelists. We will discuss ideas of the literary text as a self-conscious artifact, observe different uses of irony and metafiction, and consider new approaches to narrative time and space. More specifically, we will examine how postmodernist fiction explores the conventions of life writing, psychoanalytic and psychiatric notions of the split self, and the literary tradition of the double, to explore and transcend the boundaries of conventional representation.
- Ingeborg Bachmann, Malina, Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1971; tr. Philip Boehm: Malina London: Holmes & Meier, 1999.
- Primo Levi, Il Sistema Periodico, Turin: Einaudi, 1975; tr. Raymond Rosenthal: The Periodic Table, London: Penguin, 2000.
- George Perec, W ou le souvenir d'enfance, Paris: Galimard, 1975; tr. David Bellos W or the Memory of Childhood, London: Vintage 2011.
- Italo Calvino, Se Una Notte D’Inverno Un Viaggiatore, Turin: Einaudi, 1979; tr. William Weaver: If On a Winter’s Night a Traveller, London: Vintage, 2007.
- J.M.Coetzee, Slow Man, London: Vintage, 2005.
Initial Secondary Bibliography
- Hans Bertens, The Idea of the Postmodern: A History, London and New York: Routledge, 1995.
- Steven Connor, Postmodernist Culture: An Introduction to Theories of the Contemporary, Oxford: Blackwell, 1989.
- Ian Hacking, Rewriting the Soul: Multiple Personality and the Science of Memory, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995.
- Laura Marcus, Auto/Biographical Discourses: Criticism, Theory, Practice, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999.
- Brian McHale, Postmodernist Fiction, London and New York: Routledge, 1987.