Introduction to Fiction

L204 — Spring 2019

John Lincoln Schilb
Days and Times
2:30 - 3:45p TR
Course Description

Topic:  “Novels About Emergencies”


We’ll read contemporary novels about life under states of emergency.  We’ll especially consider who benefits, and who doesn’t, from the actions people take when they feel threatened by tyranny, rebellion, terrorism, “natural” disasters, poverty, or disease.  More generally, we’ll seek to identify how novels reflect and respond to historical and social developments.  We’ll consider as well how fiction can act as an agent of political change.  Our novels will include Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, Julie Otsuka’s When The Emperor Was Divine, Philip Roth’s Nemesis, Valerie Martin’s Property, Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones, and Naomi Alderman’s The Power.  Our classes will be mostly discussion.  The writing will include two papers, along with several quizzes and informal exercises.  There will be no final exam.