The Complete Ishiguro, Part 1: 1980-1999
Time: 19:45 - 21:30
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HLT264
Duration: 10 sessions (over 10 weeks)
What is the course about?
This online literature course is a retrospective of the first twenty years of Ishiguro’s writing career. After taking the MA in Creative Writing at UEA (where he was tutored by Angela Carter), Ishiguro began publishing short stories. He came to the notice of editors at Faber who offered an advance and contract for his first novel. This became A Pale View of Hills, an enigmatic story of memory and loss set in post-war Nagasaki and contemporary England that won the Winifred Holtby Prize in 1982.
In 1983 he was named one of Granta’s ‘Best of Young British Novelists’ alongside the likes of Martin Amis and Ian McEwan. After writing two screenplays for Channel 4 TV, he published a second novel, An Artist of the Floating World (1986), set in pre- and post-war Japan, which won the Whitbread Book of the Year. Ishiguro became a literary celebrity in 1989 when he won the Booker Prize for The Remains of the Day, a bestseller narrated by a butler in 1930s England, adapted in 1993 as a successful period drama by the Merchant Ivory team. Six years went by before his next novel, The Unconsoled, a long, Kafkaesque and dreamlike novel that baffled critics and divided readers. Ishiguro entered the new millennium with a reputation for being unpredictable and intriguing, and the literary world awaited his next works with great interest.
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?
• Ishiguro’s early life: Surrey choirboy with Japanese heritage
• Links between 1980s short stories, screenplays and novels
• Ishiguro’s ‘personal Japan’ as depicted in A Pale View of Hills and An Artist of the Floating World vs ‘real’ Japanese culture and history
• Butlers and artists: thematic links between An Artist of the Floating World and The Remains of the Day
• Form, adaptation and narrative voice: The Remains of the Day as novel and film
• Reception and genre: what kind of a novel is The Unconsoled?
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Identify the personal, biographical and literary influences that shaped Kazuo Ishiguro and his work
• Discuss the common themes and preoccupations that link his short stories, screenplays and novels
• Analyse the first four of Ishiguro’s acclaimed novels in terms of form, genre, style and narrative voice.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
For anyone who enjoys reading and discussing literature and is 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?
The classes will be highly participatory and interactive, with a combination of tutor presentation, pair and group work, close reading exercises and class discussion. We will make use of mixed media including podcasts, film and TV clips. While the tutor will provide expert guidance and knowledge, you and your classmates’ responses and ideas will be to the fore.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Please buy or borrow a copy of each of the novels, all published by Faber:
• A Pale View of Hills (1982)
• An Artist of the Floating World (1986)
• The Remains of the Day (1989)
• The Unconsoled (1995)
Copies of short stories, interviews, speeches etc will be provided by the tutor.
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.
Lewis Ward is a London-based teacher and editor. His PhD (University of Exeter) focused on history, memory and trauma in contemporary narratives. He has taught at four UK universities, covering most literary periods and genres along the way.
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.