Ways into advanced literature: disruptors, transgressors and storytellers

Course Dates: 22/05/24 - 26/06/24
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
Location: Keeley Street
Explore the rewards of close reading analysis, focusing on fiction, drama and the literary essay. Read, analyse and debate works from the mid-twentieth century that challenged the status quo and entered into the debates of the time. Includes 'A Single Man' by Christopher Isherwood, 'A Delicate Balance' by Edward Albee and 'Slouching Towards Bethlehem' by Joan Didion.
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Ways into advanced literature: disruptors, transgressors and storytellers
This course has started
  • Course Code: HLT278
  • Dates: 22/05/24 - 26/06/24
  • Time: 18:00 - 19:30
  • Taught: Wed, Evening
  • Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)
  • Location: Keeley Street
  • Tutor: Patricia Sweeney

Course Code: HLT278

Started Wed, eve, 22 May - 26 Jun '24

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Centre for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

This literature course encourages you to develop your close reading and analytical skills through the study of short fiction,a novel and a play We will read, analyse, discuss and debate literary works from the mid-twentieth century that addressed the changing social issues of that time, influencing the decades to come.

What will we cover?

Weeks 1 & 2 - Christopher Isherwood: 'A Single Man' (1964)
Called "The best prose writer in English" by Gore Vidal, Isherwood was an Anglo-American novelist, playwright, screenwriter, autobiographer and diarist. His novel, 'Goodbye to Berlin (1939), was the inspiration for the musical 'Cabaret'. 'A Single Man' is about love, grief and a celebration of life. "A quarter-century ahead of its time in its portrayal of a quotidian homosexual life, it inspired a generation of gay writers in Britain and the US." - Independent
"Lyrical and intensely moving" Daily Telegraph

Edward Albee: 'A Delicate Balance' (1966):
Winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1967, Albee wrote this play four years after 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' Both plays deal with a recurring theme of Albee's - a sense of missed opportunity and loss. "Albee is rightly recognized as one of the key figures in twentieth century American drama, a peer of Eugene O'Neill, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, and Sam Shepard, and a dramatist of exemplary courage, ambition, and resilience." - New York Review of Books

Joan Didion: 'Slouching Towards Bethlehem' (1968)
"We tell ourselves stories in order to live." - Joan Didion
When Didion died at the end of 2021 she was celebrated as one of the most distinctive and important voices in American letters. Her iconic book of essays, 'Slouching Towards Bethlehem' (1968), uses literary description and historical and cultural references to religion, location, film, fashion and lifestyle to portray the unravelling of the social fabric of mid-century American culture. We look at a selection of her essays and explore the power of the 'New Journalism', which influenced subsequent journalistic style.

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

-Recognise the social and cultural framework for each text
-Develop close reading skills to analyse a novel, a playtext and the literary essay for meaning
-Develop understanding of narrative structure and character development in fiction
-Develop your understanding of dramatic form.

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

This is a course for people who have done some literary or relevant study before and are interested in developing their literary skills of analysis. You need a willingness to join into discussion and consider the views of others.

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

There will be short introductory lectures, small group and whole group discussion. Readings will be set for each week in preparation for that week's class.

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

Please bring copies of:
A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood (Vintage Classics, 2010)
A Delicate Balance by Edward Albee (any edition)
Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion (Fourth Estate 2017)
Short fiction to be provided by the lecturer.
The tutor will provide all secondary materials.

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

Look for other Literature courses at www.citylit.ac.uk/courses under History, Culture and Writing/Literature.

Patricia Sweeney

Patricia Sweeney is Programme Coordinator for Literature at City Lit. She has been working in the university and adult education sectors for over 20 years, with specialist teaching interests in American cultural studies, modern and contemporary British and American fiction, drama and film adaptation. In addition to her work at City Lit, Patricia has taught Literature courses for the Open University, Literature, Drama and Film courses for Birkbeck, University of London and contributed to MA and PGCE courses at the Institute of Education, University College London.

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.