Literary criticism and theory; study of the novel and writing critical essays; close reading, descriptive commentary and writing book reviews. Forms, styles and innovations in the novel. Reading novels in various contexts (literary/artistic; political; philosophical; sociological).




After taking this course, students will be able to identity and contrast different narrative techniques in contemporary fiction and relate these to theories of realism, postmodernism, metafiction and historiography. In addition they will be able to identify and analyse contemporary themes such as gender, family relations, terrorism, multi-culturalism, globalisation, digital culture and technological society, and conduct informed debate on moral and ethical issues arising from these. The assessment process will give students the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to describe and assess a novel succinctly (book review), conduct close reading exercises (tutorials), and address contemporary themes and issues in theoretically-informed critical essays (end of term essay).




The most important part of the course is the active reading and private study of the novels. Formal lectures will introduce students to background to theories of the novel today. Class discussion and tutorials will enable students to compare their readings and analyses.




Assessment is by course work (100%).

The course work component consists of:

    1) participation in tutorials and short tutorial summaries by e-mail (25%)

    2) a book review (35%) 800 words

    3) an essay of 1500 - 2000 words (40%)




1. Rana Dasgupta, "Tokyo Cancelled" (selected stories)
2. David Mitchell, "Cloud Atlas"
3. Don DeLillo, "Falling Man"
4. Jeanette Winterson, "The Stone Gods"

[Please note that some of these novels are quite lengthy and you are advised to read some of them before the course begins]



Last updated: 15 July 2015