Location: Utrecht University, see below
Teaching period: May-June 2019 (meetings on for May 24 and June 7, 14, 21, 28)
Instructor: Prof. Neil ten Kortenaar (University of Toronto)
Credits: 5 EC
Open to: RMA students and PhD candidates
THE SEMINAR IS FULLY BOOKED. Please send an e-mail with your name, university and research school to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will put you on our waiting list.
When they first encountered novelistic realism, writers all over the world felt it encouraged a new kind of vision: an invitation to write about things that had never been written about in order to make people see those things as for the first time. Yet at the same time realism observes rules of verisimilitude that suggest the new can be understood in terms of the already known. These twin pulls, toward the new and towards the same, make realism’s great contradiction and, no doubt, its attraction.
We will examine the meaning realism acquired as it made its way around the world by looking first at two Western texts to suggest the history of realism—novels by Balzac and Updike—and then at six more realist novels from other traditions, that is, from Africa, India, and China.
The critical theory of realism is understandably focused on the nineteenth century British, French, and Russian novel. In this course we will examine whether what is said of realism by Hegel, Lukács, Auerbach, Barthes, Raymond Williams, Jameson,
Catherine Gallagher, Moretti and others is also true of realism in the 20th century elsewhere in the world. Realism is often associated historically with the bourgeoisie, the working class, liberalism, the Enlightenment, perspective in painting, the documentary impulse, the visual, the status quo, social activism, heteronormativity, and secularism. Does it retain those (contradictory) associations in, say, India or China? Realism appears to be the product of a particular time and place. What happens when it is found elsewhere at a later time?
Session 1: Europe: Honoré de Balzac
Session 2: United States: John Updike
Session 3: China: Lu Xun, Eileen Chang
Session 4: South Asia: Anita Desai, Amit Chaudhuri
Session 5: Africa: Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Adichie
- Preparation of and active participation in the meetings
- Final paper and brief presentation
- 24 May – Room 1.06, Kromme Nieuwe Gracht 80, Utrecht
- 7 June – Sweelinckzaal: Drift 21 – 0.05 (entrance via Library, Drift 27 Utrecht)
- 14 June – Room 1.06, Kromme Nieuwe Gracht 80, Utrecht
- 21 June – Sweelinckzaal: Drift 21 – 0.05 (entrance via Library, Drift 27 Utrecht)
- 28 June – Room 1.06, Kromme Nieuwe Gracht 80, Utrecht