OverviewThis module looks at a group of politically inspired novels and films, some of which were produced under the totalitarian regimes which held sway in Europe between 1917 and 1989, others deal with Latin American political unrest, the Middle East conflict and the Islamic revolution in Iran. Most explore ways of challenging and subverting authoritarian power structures and of articulating a critique in what Bertolt Brecht called 'dark times'. But we will also focus on less obvious negotiations of fiction with power, especially with respect to the various forms of power to which these texts are subject and in which they participate. The approach is comparative in two senses as the texts range historically and culturally as well as across genres and language barriers (Arab, Czech, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Russian and Spanish)
This module appears in:
The module will be taught by means of a weekly two-hour seminar.
Total Contact Hours: 40
Independent Study Hours: 260 (devoted to the reading of primary and secondary texts, seminar preparation, and essay planning and writing)
Total study hours: 300
Also available under code CP502 (Level 6)
Method of assessment
Assessment will be 100% coursework:
Oral Presentation (20%)
2 x Extended Essay (40% each)
Indicative Reading List
Hanne, Michael (1994/1996). "Narrative and Power", in: The Power of the Story. Fiction and Political Change. Rev. ed. Providence, RI: Berghahn, 142.
Literary Texts (any edition and/or translation unless otherwise stated):
Bulgakov, Mikhail, 2007 (192939/196667). The Master and Margherita. Trans. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. London: Penguin.
Grant, Linda, 2000. When I Lived in Modern Times. London: Granta Publications.
Ionesco, Eugène, 2015 (1959). Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros and Other Plays). Trans. Derek Prouse. New York: Grove Press.
Kundera, Milan, 1995 (1984). The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Trans. Michael Henry Heim. London: Faber and Faber.
Satrapi, Marjane. 2008 (2003). Persepolis. Trans. Anjali Singh. London: Vintage.
Sijie, Dai, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (2000)
Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr, 2000 (1962) A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Trans. Ralph Parker. London: Penguin.
Wolfgang Becker (dir.), Good Bye, Lenin! (2003)
Leni Riefenstahl (dir.), The Triumph of the Will (1935)
On successfully completing the module level 5 students will be able to:
11.1 Demonstrate awareness of and ability to analyse discursive power relations (political, ethnic, gendered, etc.);
11.2 Demonstrate an understanding of the interplay between ideology and the imagination, politics and literature;
11.3 Demonstrate an understanding of the interrelation of fact and fiction;
11.4 Demonstrate an understanding of literature in its function as a catalyst and product of identity formation;
11.5 Demonstrate an awareness of literature in its function as a vehicle of cultural self-reflection;
11.6 Select and synthesise complex material and develop and defend arguments both in class and in writing in a comparative context;
11.7 Demonstrate an improved ability to undertake the comparative analysis of literature.