Students explore modern and contemporary English literature, which engages catastrophes and humiliations blared in countless headlines, from England’s near starvation by German U-boats in World War I to the loss of the Raj, the British expulsion from Suez and not long after what was once called Rhodesia, the Christine Keeler scandal, and the Falklands debacle. Whether the collapse of the British empire qualifies as disaster, opportunity, retribution, graveyard, or cradle will depend on who is talking. And exactly who is talking, often for the first time, is the point. As Kipling feared, Conrad hoped, and Orwell predicted, the weakening empire gave new freedom and power to the once silenced and voiceless, not only in the former colonies and throughout the Commonwealth but within England itself. Students study the accelerating evolution of new genres, the trade-offs of dialect literature, the appropriation and/or resistance of "popular" cultures, the danger of the high-tech police state, and the search for a way to awaken the sleepwalkers and inspire the denialists without trampling their freedom, even if that freedom is enthralled to commercially motivated and cynically destructive mythologies. Among the storytellers and poets threading this labyrinth can be counted Auden, Orwell, Thomas, Reed, Bennett, Harrison, Wa Thiong’O, Larkin, Walcott, Hughes, Achebe, Naipaul, Heaney, Gordimer, Rushdie, Boland, and Muldoon. Prereq: UCCS R and LPA requirements fulfilled.


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