E238 – Twentieth-Century Fiction

Credit Hours:

Course Level:

Semesters Offered:
Fall Spring

Description: This course explores a variety of generic conventions and ideological concerns in the twentieth-century fiction, emphasizing the late-century post-colonialist and post-modernist writers. At stake for all of these writers are issues of subjectivity and agency, differing definitions of desire and memory, and position of the individual in relation to a larger, and often politically oppressive, society.

As an approved course in the III-E Global and Cultural Awareness category of the All University Core Curriculum, E 238 exposes the student to a wide ethnic, cultural, and global diversity of the writers and perspectives in the novels and short story collections assigned. Depending on the instructor’s choice, the course includes writers from Mexico, Dominican Republic, Antigua, Colombia, England, Ireland, France, Czechoslovakia, Russian, Zimbabwe, South Africa, India, Japan, and New Zealand. Also included may be U.S. writers out of the mainstream: Afro-American, Native American, Asian American, Chicano(a). More specifically, the works cover a variety of political ideologies, tribal myths, the effects of colonial and post-colonial values, violent national and international conflicts, and other cultural problematics.

A number of works (for example, Kundera’s novels) show in great detail the ways in which people’s public and private lives are profoundly affected by various political ideologies. Novel such as Silko’s Ceremony explore the confusion of values experienced by people of minority cultures in trying to reconcile or accommodate their native culture with that of the white majority. Other novels (for example from contemporary Africa) treat the effects of colonial and indigenous tribal values on a young person’s coming of age. A book such as Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude explores the complex and ultimately violent international relationships between US owned companies and Latin America in general. Several works invite students to debate these issues in light of their own assumptions and perspectives. Finally the course demands that students make use of the core competencies in articulating both orally and in writing their ideas and feelings.