Historical Novels: reimagining and rewriting

Course Dates: 22/07/21 - 12/08/21
Time: 10:15 - 12:15
Location: Online
Tutors: 
What’s the unique appeal of historical fiction? Why do we read so much of it, and what are we looking for? This course investigates historical fiction written in the twenty-first century and how it reimagines the past for us as contemporary readers. Reading fiction set in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, we will explore historical fiction’s strategies, challenges and pleasures: how it can bring unknown stories into view and rewrite what we think we know.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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SKU
184439
Full fee £79.00 Senior fee £63.00 Concession £48.00

Course Code: HLT239

Thu, day, 22 Jul - 12 Aug '21

Duration: 4 sessions (over 4 weeks)

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

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

What is the course about?

This online literature course looks in detail at two works of historical fiction and their vivid reimagining of the past. Francis Spufford’s novel Golden Hill (2016) is set in New York in 1746, and Emma Donoghue’s collection of short stories, The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits (2002), recreates moments predominantly from the nineteenth century.

We’ll think about how these different forms of historical fiction tell their stories using creative blends of literary invention and historical sources, and how their rewriting both illuminates and challenges ideas we may have about the past. We will think about how historical fiction belongs to its time of writing, too: how and why these historical fictions pull us back to questions about our present.

Tutor biography:
Dr Kate Wilkinson teaches English literature and has a particular interest in twenty-first-century novels. Since 2015 she has taught at Queen Mary University of London, on courses ranging from Middle English to cultural theory. Her PhD and publications explore the vibrant life of letters in fiction, and what this can tell us about our contemporary world.

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.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

We will cover a variety of topics to reflect on our experience as readers and to investigate historical fiction’s strategies for reimagining times and places. We will consider the expectations we bring as readers, the literary ancestors and origins of our selected texts, and how these can influence our reading. We will consider what makes a fiction feel ‘authentic’, including details of style, language and perspective, as well as its story and historical setting. We will think too about how fiction can reflect on writing, on written records and on whose stories are preserved or forgotten.

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

• Discuss these texts confidently, with an extended knowledge of historical fiction and its literary study
• Extend your understanding of literary form and narrative techniques
• Discuss ideas about fiction, historical knowledge and rewriting.

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

You need to have an enthusiasm for reading contemporary historical fiction, listening to others and participating in discussions. You don’t need to have studied literature formally.

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

There will be a variety of teaching, including informal talks, small group and whole group discussion, close reading and working with additional material including video clips. Guided by the tutor, the focus will be on participation and interaction, with opportunities each week for you to share responses and ideas.

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

You will need to read the following, available in paperback.

Emma Donoghue, The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits (Virago, 2002)
Francis Spufford, Golden Hill: A Novel of Old New York (Scribner, 2016)

Links will be provided to other reading and class materials.

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

Look for other literature courses at www.citylit.ac.uk/history, culture and writing/literature/fiction.

Kate Wilkinson

Dr Kate Wilkinson teaches English literature and has a particular interest in twenty-first-century novels. Since 2015 she has taught at Queen Mary University of London, on courses ranging from Middle English to cultural theory. Her PhD and publications explore the vibrant life of letters in fiction, and what this can tell us about our contemporary world.

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.