E 322 • The Novel and National Identity in Eastern Europe
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
The course will explore literature and society of Eastern Europe in the second half of the twentieth century: the problem of memory and national identity in novels from Poland and Hungary. Two basic questions will be explored throughout the semester: How do writers from two very different cultural traditions experiment with the form of the novel? How do the novels we read articulate competing visions of national identity?
We will take as our point of departure Homi Bhabha's notion of national identity as cultural artifice: "the people are not simply historical events or parts of a patriotic body politic. They are also a complex rhetorical strategy of social reference. The scraps, patches, and rags of daily life must be repeatedly turned into the signs of a coherent national culture." Format: Lecture/Discussion.
1) Regular attendence and participation.
2) Completion of required reading by the date assigned (see syllabus).
3) Course Work/Course Credit:
Short Essay (6-7 pages) 20%
Long Essay (10-12 pages) + thesis statement/outline (2-3 pages) 40%
Informed Participation in Class Discussion 10%
Quizzes: Throughout the semester there will be approximately five brief, unscheduled, in-class closed-book essays. Each student's lowest test grade will be dropped. There will be no remakes, and if a student misses a test then that will become the grade dropped.
Pawel Huelle, Moving House (Poland)
Piotr Szewc, Annihilation (Hungary)
Peter Nadas, A Book of Memories (Hungary)