What is the course about?
Beginning with Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys’s extraordinary 1966 prequel to Jane Eyre, the course also takes in J.M. Coetzee’s 1986 Foe (a re-imagined Robinson Crusoe) and Ian McEwan’s 2016 novel Nutshell: Hamlet as retold by an unborn foetus. As we work through these rich, provocative (but pleasingly short) works of literature, we’ll be thinking about how they adapt and interact with the texts on which they draw, and how they use wisdom and wit to put received assumptions about truth, fiction and storytelling up for question.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
Questions we consider will include:
• how these texts work;
• what makes them ‘postmodern’;
• how they affect our readings of the texts on which they are based; and
• how they challenge assumptions about fiction, authenticity, and what literature is.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
Lay claim to a knowledge of some great works of contemporary literature, as well as a renewed interpretation of the texts on which they draw.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is designed 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?
Teaching will be by way of group discussion, prompted by additional materials provided by the tutor. Preparation outside of class will consist of reading the texts and taking notes.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Please buy or borrow copies of:
Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (Penguin, 2000), 192 pp. ISBN: 0141182857
J.M. Coetzee, Foe (Penguin, 2010), 160pp. ISBN: 0241950112
Ian McEwan, Nutshell (Vintage, 2017), 224pp. ISBN: 9781784705114
Jeanette Winterson, Frankissstein (Vintage, 2020), 352pp. ISBN: 1784709956.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Look for other fiction courses under History, Culture and Writing/Literature/Fiction at www.citylit.ac.uk.