THE NOVEL: LIFE IN LONG FORM
"The novel is the book of life." - D.H. Lawrence
C LIT 252 A IS THE SAME AS GLITS 252 A (GLITS = Global Literary Studies) and SLAVIC 320 B ("EAST EUROPEAN FICTION")
IF ONE OF THESE SECTIONS IS FULL, PLEASE JUST ENROLL IN THE OTHER!
While we can be outdoing ourselves with how brief and short-lasting our verbal expression gets in tweets or snapchats, the novel – the longest literary form – happily lives on over the centuries and into our times. More than that: Don Quixote (1605), a novel by Miguel Cervantes, for example, sold five hundred million copies few years ago. In general, the novel as a literary form continues to be the preferred reading of readers world-wide.
What is it about this literary form that makes it so appealing, enduring, and global? What do readers find in it? Your online dictionary provides an easy answer, defining the novel as "a fictitious prose narrative of considerable length and complexity, portraying characters and usually presenting a sequential organization of action and scenes." This class will look into this genre more carefully and provide a taste of several major novels from around the world, including lesser known yet fascinating East European and Slavic novels. We will delve more deeply into three novels—James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room, Hungarian Magda Szabo The Door, and Estonian Tõnu Õnnepalu's Border State, with two of them being rather short to allow for the quality reading time. We will try to get acquainted with some of the novels that have made a global impact and some that are known to only a few, and we will try to find the reasons for this fictional genre’s lasting human attraction. A few film adaptations of famous novels will also be looked at. No prerequisites.