The aim of the course is to close-read and interpret path-breaking texts of those African writers who have helped define the field of African literature in English. The writers whose texts will be analyzed include Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Nadine Gordimer, and others. Each chapter outlines the life and work of a particular writer, focusing on the predominant motives and themes of their oeuvre. All texts will be discussed in the context of the writers' personal histories, always closely entwined with larger social, political and cultural structures of both colonial and post-colonial times. The course introduces writings representing various literary genres, including essays, poems, short stories, novels and plays. This approach will help the students to appreciate the complexity, variety and richness of African writing in English, as well as its evolution towards its now emancipated position within the vast filed of literature written in English.
The course will primarily deal with texts written by the prominent writers of the First World War, known in Britain at the time as the Great War. Writers whose texts will be close-read and analyzed include Ivor Gurney, Wilfred Owen, Rupert Brooke, and others. All poems will be discussed in the context of the writers' personal histories, but also the larger social, political and cultural contexts of the time. Each text will then be juxtaposed with its contemporary counterpart as based on the recent anthology 1914: Poetry Remembers. This approach will help to illuminate the texts for the students, who will also be able to trace the evolution of poetry over the period of one century.
The course will acquaint the students with the latest developments in poetry produced on the British Isles, Ireland included. The aim of the course is to introduce contemporary British and Irish poetry in a way that would enable the students to read, enjoy and appreciate the full scope of its stylistic and formal features, as well as to find an internal connection with its topical, albeit variable, subject matters. Focusing on key themes and issues, and a wide range of poets, the course captures the intersection between the historical and cultural contexts of critical debate today. Through a close-reading of poems by authors such as Simon Armitage, Don Paterson or Kathleen Jamie, the students will get a confident grasp of contemporary poetry and the critical discussions it generates.
The aim of the course is to introduce, debate and challenge the notion of the 'postmodern' both in its incarnation as 'postmodernity', denoting recent history's general social, economic and political orders, and 'postmodernism', understood as a set of particularized artistic, philosophical and cultural modes adopted in the historical period of 'postmodernity'. The students will be exposed to the complexity of 'postmodernism' and 'postmodernity' via a variety of texts, from philosophical and political writings to postmodernist fiction, music and cinema. These will be extensively discussed in the seminars. On completion of the course, which will take the form of an independent critical essay, the students will ideally have a confident grasp of the various philosophical, social, political and cultural practices to which the notion of the 'postmodern' has been put.