Friday, 27 July 2007

Contemporary writing again

Here's a draft reading list for that contemporary writing course. The theme I decided to go with was, roughly, 'history' - works that deal with a sense of belatedness, or that rewrite earlier works, or that talk about the ways in which our "free" choices, as subjects, are constrained or determined by history, or all of the above. I've tried to get a mix of nationalities, ethnicities, genders, genres, forms, and decades (though I notice I've completely overlooked the 70s and the 80s only get one book on the list.)

(The odd book out is 253, which I just really want to teach. And I do think its experiments with narrative form and the differences between the Web and the print versions are interesting and "contemporary", I'm just not sure how it links into the "history" theme. But it sits nicely with Slaughterhouse 5.)

1. Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987)

2. Tom Cho, [selection of short stories - 'Dirty Dancing' and 'The Sound of Music'?] (2004-7)

3. Alison Bechdel, Fun Home (2006)

4. Geoff Ryman, 253 (1998)

5. Femi Osofisan, Tegonni: An African Antigone (1994)

6. Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire (1962)

7. Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (1966)

8. Derek Walcott, Omeros (1990)

9. Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse 5 (1969)

10. Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966)

All comments gratefully received. I know Ros & Guil and Wide Sargasso Sea aren't the most interesting texts in the world maybe, but on the other hand I don't know where I'd be today without them, and at least there'll be reams of secondary literature.