Course Instructor Days Times Room
ENGL4675 PARKES, ADAM MW 1 :25 PM 0145


This course offers an introduction to some of the most beautiful and powerful works of fiction written by contemporary British writers.  Some of these writers, such as Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro, were established figures before the turn of the century; others, such as Zadie Smith or Tom McCarthy, have had a more recent impact.  Reading works written in the realist tradition together with experimental texts, our primary goal will be to explore the question of how novelists of the twenty-first century have engaged with our own historical moment.  We will consider how themes of class, money, and status continue to shape the English novel as a literary form, as well as discussing issues that seem distinctively contemporary, such as global finance, immigration, multiculturalism, national identity, and the welfare state.  Another recurrent theme will be the question of how twenty-first-century fiction responds to the historical and aesthetic legacies of the twentieth century.  Secondary readings will be introduced at various junctures.  


1. Impromptu assignments, participation, and preparation.  

2.  Formal writing assignments.  


One 2-page paper, a 3-page paper, and a 5-page paper, all on assigned topics, plus a final 10-page research paper on a topic of your own devising.  The final  paper will also require reading a second novel by your chosen primary author and relevant critical literature.


Short essays: 50%.  Final paper: 40%.  Informal writing assignments, quizzes, and participation: 10%. 




Alan Hollinghurst, The Line of Beauty (Bloomsbury, 2005).

Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go (Vintage, 2006).

Pat Barker, Border Crossing (Picador, 2017).

John Lanchester, Capital (Norton, 2012).

Tom McCarthy, Remainder (Vintage, 2007).

Ian McEwan, Atonement (Anchor, 2003).

Zadie Smith, On Beauty (Penguin, 2006).

Recommended: M.H. Abrams, A Glossary of Literary Terms (Wadsworth, 2011).