|Delivery Type||Delivery length / details|
|Seminar||10 x 2 Hour Seminars|
|Assessment Type||Assessment length / details||Proportion|
|Semester Assessment||First essay assignment 1 x 2500 word essay||50%|
|Semester Assessment||Second essay assignment 1 x 2500 word essay||50%|
|Supplementary Assessment||Resubmit first assignment Resubmit failed or missing 1 x 2500 word essay||50%|
|Supplementary Assessment||Resubmit second assignment Resubmit failed or missing 1 x 2500 word essay||50%|
On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of a range of contemporary post-memory fiction.
2. Discuss critically the main theories and debats within contemporary historical fiction.
3. Demonstrate an awareness of how post-memory fiction stands in relation to ongoing debates about historical fiction.
4. Analyse and evaluate such texts in terms of their political, historical and social context.
- introduce students to a range of post-memory fiction from the 1980's-present day and chart changes in approach and content over this period.
- consider the extent to which the production and reception of post-memory fiction is conditioned by societal factors.
- introduce students to ongoing debates in contemporary historical fiction and to encourage them to carry those insights over to other areas of their study.
Why do some authors keep returning to the events of their parents' and grandparents' generations?
How are their responses conditioned by cultural, social and political factors?
How are they shaped by, and how do they shape, current trends in contemporary literature?
This module will investigate the complexity and variety of recent fictional responses to war, paying particular attention to generational issues. It asks what World War Two means to us now, and, more broadly, what these texts can tell us about the relationship of history and fiction.
Estimated student workload:
Contact time: 20.5 hours
Reading and preparation: 100 hours
Independent study preparing assignments 79.5 hours
What debates have shaped recent thinking on historical fiction? Starting with excerpts from Hirsch, Ricoeur, White and Hutcheon, we will look at the development of the postmodern historical novel, using Ian McEwan's novel Atonement (2001) as our core text.
Seminar 2: Writing War: Contemporary Views and Art Spiegelman's Maus
We have asked what an historical novel is; now, what is a war novel? Who writes them, and what do we expect from these two genres in terms of theme, style and authorial intention? Are these categories of novels useful in terms of a text such as Maus (1991) which moves between the past and the present? Can Hirsch's concept of postmemory be transferred to other second-generation trauma narratives?
Seminar 3: 'The Past won't fit into memory without something left over; it must have a future' (Joseph Brodsky).
Pat Barker, Regeneration (1991). What does Barker's depiction of shell shock, gender and the home front tell us about 1917 and 1991?
Seminar 4: Transgenerational Haunting. Graham Swift, Shuttlecock (1981).
The transmission of trauma to the second/third generation; troubled conceptions of masculinity.
Weeks 5 to 10: Old Voices, New Perspectives: reclaiming the past.
Seminar 5: Ways of Seeing (the War). Adam Thorpe, The Rules of Perspective (2005) 'The Good German'; using innovative narrative perspectives to draw the reader into a process of discovery.
Seminar 6: Queering the Past. Sarah Waters, The Night Watch (2006). A new type of second generation emerges. Reinscribing Gay and Lesbian history; narrative invention and appropriation.
Seminar 7: The Birth of Multicultural Britain: Andrea Levy, Small Island (2004). A new second generation speaks its history for the first time; expanding and complicating notions of 'Britishness' and postcolonial discourse.
Seminar 8: What, and who, do we forget to remember? Biyi Bandele, Burma Boy (2007). The first novel to portray the experiences of African soldiers fighting for the Allies, this second generation work also reminds us of a forgotten arena of the war, asking us why we remember and commemorate what we do and neglect other areas.
Seminar 9: What is a historical novel? Binjamin Wilkomirski, Fragments (1996). Questions of appropriation and authenticity from the module revisited and revised in the light of this profoundly complex and troubling text.
Semester 10: What can fiction do with history that history can't? Module summary and reflection. Group discussion.
|Skills Type||Skills details|
|Application of Number||N/A|
|Communication||Written communication in the form of essays, oral communication in seminar discussion and group presentations.|
|Improving own Learning and Performance||Developing own research skills, management of time, expression and use of language.|
|Information Technology||Use of electronic resources (JSTOR, websites): use of databases of digitized newspapers and periodicals; the production of written work.|
|Personal Development and Career planning||By critical reflection and the development of transferable communication skills.|
|Problem solving||Formulating and developing extended arguments.|
|Research skills||By relating literary texts to historical contexts and theoretical commentaries and by synthesizing various perspectives in an evaluative arguement.|
|Subject Specific Skills||Detailed critical and contextual analysis of literary texts and evaluation of the theoretical concepts.|
|Team work||Through group presentations in seminars - this will involve preparation outside of class and team work within the seminar.|
This module is at CQFW Level 6