"Feed the Flames": Contemporary Writing in Britain



Time and place

Die Vorlesung gehört in folgenden Studiengängen zu folgenden Modulen:

  • BA English and American Studies: Hauptmodul B Literature (Zulassungsvoraussetzung: bestandenes Zwischenmodul II)

  • Lehramt Gymnasium: Optionsmodul L-GYM Literature (Zulassungsvoraussetzung: bestandenes Zwischenmodul L-GYM Literature)

  • MA English Studies: Introductory Module: Literature (module 4020)

  • MA Literaturstudien – intermedial und interkulturell: Modul 8


Contemporary writing in Britain has many faces. The aim of this lecture is to familiarize students both with the basics of postmodern literature required for the exam of state and with significant works influencing the current literary scene in the UK. We will cover the works of novelists labelled as postmodernists, such as John Fowles, Graham Swift, and Julian Barnes, but we will also analyse how the themes of gender, class, memory, and identity are negotiated in works produced by critically acclaimed authors within the last decade. Furthermore, this lecture will shed light on the question why popular fantastic novels such as Philip Pullman, |His Dark Materials| (from 1995), J.K. Rowling, |Harry Potter| (from 1997), or taboo-breaching books such as E.L. James, |Fifty Shades of Grey| (2011) find a huge readership and how they are situated within the literary tradition of the United Kingdom. As Philip Pullman, author of |His Dark Materials|, indebted to the legacies of Milton and Blake, famously wrote: "If your talent is inert and sullen in the face of business or politics but takes fire at the thought of ghosts and vampires and witches and demons, then feed the flames". Although the lecture addresses primarily students of literary and cultural studies, the group welcomes auditors with an interest in the area. A course syllabus will be available from from the beginning of April.