What is the course about?
We’ll be comparing three novels depicting the desires, dreams and frustrations of marriage and family in suburban America: John Updike’s classic Rabbit Run, Anne Tyler’s ambitious The Amateur Marriage and Ira Levin’s brilliant shocker The Stepford Wives.
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.
What will we cover?
The American dream in the 20thC, fictional representations of the suburb, male and female perspectives, literary genre, among others.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Recognise recurring themes in 20th century fiction
• Relate these to the wider world of Western culture
• Feel confident enough to explore further study of related fiction on your own.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course is introductory. An enthusiasm for reading and discussion is all that is required.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Each week we’ll read and discuss a text in detail.
The course is an interactive mixture of tutor exposition and class discussion. Videos and clips will also be shown and discussed where applicable. You will asked to read the texts before the class.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Students will need to buy or borrow these editions:
The Amateur Marriage (Vintage)
Rabbit, Run (Penguin Modern Classics)
The Stepford Wives (Corsair; intro by Chuck Palahniuk)
Apart from the reading material, you should bring with you pens, notepaper and file in which to store handouts and other course materials.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Have a look at other literature courses listed under History, Culture and Writing on our website at www.citylit.ac.uk.