Great novellas from Turgenev to Marquez

Course Dates: 26/09/23 - 05/12/23
Time: 14:45 - 16:45
Location: Keeley Street
According to Ian McEwan “the novella is the perfect form of prose fiction”. The novella (or long short story/short novel) was one of the most successful and intriguing literary forms of the 19th and 20th centuries. Find out how and why some of the greatest modern writers including Ivan Turgenev, Edith Wharton and James Baldwin used the form to create work that was concise, resonant, enigmatic and often ground breaking.
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Full fee £229.00 Senior fee £183.00 Concession £149.00

This course has now started

Course Code: HLT126

Full Tue, day, 26 Sep - 05 Dec '23

Duration: 10 sessions (over 11 weeks)

Call us to check if you can still join the course 020 4582 0414 (depart num)

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What is the course about?

In this in-college course we’ll be studying some of the great novellas of modern times, including Turgenev’s poignantly evocative First Love, James Baldwin’s innovative handling of homosexuality in Giovanni’s Room, Francoise Sagan’s bold account of teenage passion in Bonjour Tristesse, JL Carr’s melancholy masterpiece A Month in the Country and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s philosophical murder mystery Chronicle of a Death Foretold.

What will we cover?

We’ll be considering some of the key ideas and currents in modern literature, such as sex, alienation and nostalgia, and looking at how the novella form has been used to explore these themes.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

Understand what constitutes a 'novella' as a work of fiction
Relate what we have read to other works of modern literature
Feel confident to read more widely in this area.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course is for those who enjoy reading and discussing literature and are interested in sharing ideas and listening to the views of others.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Short lecture, whole group and small group work, reading in class. You will be asked to read the selected texts in the week or two before the class.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Students should buy or borrow the following texts, which we will read in this order

First Love Ivan Turgenev (Penguin)
The Kreutzer Sonata Leo Tolstoy(Penguin)
The Awakening Kate Chopin (Wordsworth Classics)
Ethan Frome Edith Wharton (Wordsworth Classics).
Bonjour Tristesse Francoise Sagan (Penguin)
Giovanni’s Room James Baldwin (Penguin)
Wide Sargasso Sea Jean Rhys (Penguin)
Chronicle of a Death Foretold Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Penguin).

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

In term one please also see HLT170 Stories of the Isles, taught be the same tutor.
Please see our range of Literature courses under History, Culture and Writing/Literature on the website at

Julian Birkett

Julian Birkett is a teacher and writer specialising in modern literature. He previously worked in the Arts department at the BBC as a producer of series such as The Late Show, Modern Poets in their Own Words, The Victorians and The Culture Show. He has taught in London and at the University of Mumbai.He aims to create a friendly but thoughtful atmosphere in his City Lit classes and to provide a stimulating variety of activities from tutor input to discussion to group work and video clips.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.