English 155C - Winter, 2022

20th C. British Novel

Class Information

Instructor: Solomon, Jeff
CRN: 44412
Time: TR 10:30-11:50
Location: REMOTE
GE Areas: World Cultures Writing Experience


This course will interrogate the idea of a unified "British Novel" tradition, looking at significant examples dating from the early 20th century to the present, covering the span of time over which the sun finally sets on the British Empire and a Commonwealth of Nations (problematically) arises in its place.

More specifically, we will read and discuss a broad range of influential and wildly entertaining modernist, postmodernist, and postcolonial novels produced by celebrated novelists who identify as British (among other things); we will examine these texts for the insights they provide into fluid notions of identity -- exploring literary engagements with race, ethnicity, social class, colonialism, nationalism, migration and diaspora, gender and sexuality.

Guiding questions will include the following: How do world wars, the expansion and contraction of empire, decolonization, and the rise of social conservatism and neoliberalism figure in the 20th-21st century British novel? How do writers work within, but also reconfigure, the languages of realism, modernism, and postmodernism? And finally, how do contemporary British novels respond to the promises and disappointments of colonization, decolonization, multiculturalism, cosmopolitanism, and neoliberalism?


The course will be graded by a letter grade.
There will be in-class assignments and short homework assignments.
Participation will be reflected in the final course grade.
There will be one significant essay, and a take-home final exam.


Joseph Conrad's _Heart of Darkness_(1899)
Tayeb Salih's _Season of Migration to the North_(1966)
Zadie Smith's _White Teeth_(2000)
Mohsin Hamid's _Exit West_(2017)
Romesh Gunesekera's _Reef_ (1995)