Literature

The Literature unit at HSS comprises seven members who, between them, have a wide range of interests. These converge around the broad areas of theatre, urban studies, narratology, postcoloniality, Indian literary and political thought, literary and critical theory. Much of the research undertaken is inter-disciplinary in scope, with several of the faculty members actively participating in other units such as Philosophy, Linguistics and Sociology. The unit teaches a wide array of courses on contemporary and modernist literature, Indian writing in English and in translation, drama, poetry and narrative art, among a number of others.

Literature Faculty

Associate Professor
Associate Professor
Assistant Professor
Associate Professor
Professor
Associate Professor
Associate Professor

Literature Courses

Course Number: HUL 885 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

It is primarily a survey course covering American fiction before World War I. Its aim is to acquaint students with some of the major novelists of the period. Selected texts of some of the following will be studied Hawthorne, Melville, Poe, Drieser, Edith Wherton, Willa Cather, Henry James, Ellen Glasgow.

Course Number: HUL 886 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

This is a survey course covering American fiction of the post- World War-I period. Some of the major novelists of the period will be studied, including Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald, Steinbeck, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Saul Bellow, Bernard Malamud, John Barth, John Updike.

Course Number: HUL 354 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

The course begins by registering the increased presence of technology in contemporary art. We shall keep the experiences of both classical Greece and Classical India alive where art and technology were not clearly separated in the manner familiar to us. By positioning us between these two experiences - classical and contemporary we shall critically examine the complex relationship between art, science and technology which characterizes modernity. The course uses both materials from philosophical aesthetics, philosophy of science and technology. It also discusses the philosophical writings on specific areas like architecture, photography, cinema and digital art.

Course Number: HUL 889 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

Language in prose and poetry; stylistics; deviance; prominence, foregrounding; literary relevance; stylistic variants; language and the fictional world; the rhetoric of text; discourse situation; conversation, speech and thought.

Course Number: HUL 823 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:
Course Number: HUL 237 | Credits: 4
Course Objective:

To introduce students to fiction written after the modernist era. The course aims to acquaint students with representative contemporary fiction, offering a multi-cultural perspective by authors who come from different national, cultural and ethnic backgrounds. To look closely at themes which have emerged post the Cold War, emerging nationalisms and the search for individual/social values amid a sense of tremendous change and technological development.

Course Number: HUL 883 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

This course will explore western critical theory from antiquity to the present and measure its efficacy when applied to a literary text. Ideas of nimesis, fiction truth, art and society, art and gender will be studied with regard to different "schools" of critical theory: Platonic, Aristotelian, Renaissance, Romantic, Formalist, Structuralist, Poststructuralist, Deconstructionist and Feminist. Since the material is vast, only three or four topics will be studied in a semester.

Course Number: HUL 881 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

It is a course more broad-based than the theory of fiction. The following topics will be studied: Narrative theory and types of narrative; point of view; plot; characterization; setting; time and place the language of narrative; figures of speech.

Course Number: HUL 307 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

To introduce students to the structural elements of Fantasy literature, including a broad knowledge of its history, source traditions, and enduring subgenres. Major Themes of Fantasy: Archetypes and Myths, Motifs - journeys, theology, devices and aides, creation of alternate worlds, treatment of time and space, close readings of individual texts

Course Number: HUL 334 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

The course will involve a detailed study of 3-4 texts and their corresponding adaptations into film. By means of close reading, analysis, and discussion, it will seek to identify the changes that take place during the process of adapting one art-form into another and ask why those modifications occur. An evaluation of what each art-form enables and what it restricts or denies will enable a better understanding of form per se, and of these two forms in particular. Further, the course will address the question of genre and its conventions especially with regard to film, and observe the extent to which generic expectations shape the process of adaptation of text into film. Film screenings will be held outside class hours in the evenings.

Course Number: HUL 338 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

Satire is a classical genre that has thrived over the centuries in almost all languages and cultures, and is found in a range of media. Life, in all aspects, everyday provides grist to the mill of satire, but does satire change anything? How do we define satire? Why is it considered the social genre? What are the contemporary forms of satire? Who can practice satire? It draws upon diverse techniques such as allegory, irony, caricature and laughter. Through analyses of examples, this course will familiarize students with satirical sub-genres and related literary practices, such as parody, burlesque, black humour, the grotesque, coarse humour, high and low comedy. It will examine the structure of satire, its relation with community, democracy and matters of gender, race, and religion.

Course Number: HUL 238 | Credits: 4
Course Objective:

The aim of this course will be to read the poems of Indian English Writers (pre and post-Independence), with specific reference to the articulation of their identity. Some of the perspectives from which the poems will be discussed include the notion of home (childhood, family and ancestors); land (history, geography, community, caste and contemporary politics); language (the dialogue between the different languages in the creative repertoire of the poets); and culture (ritual, traditions, legends and myths). The course will also look at the differences between the resident and expatriate poets vis-a-vis the conflicts and resolutions as expressed in their poems.

Course Number: HUL 239 | Credits: 4
Course Objective:

The course involves a detailed study of 3-4 texts corresponding to the distinct phases of literary activity in the genre: the early period of the 1940s and 50s in which writers like Mulk Raj Anand, Raja Rao and R.K. Narayan made their presence felt, before Salman Rushdie, and more quietly, Amitav Ghosh and Vikram Seth, erupted into the scene in the 1980s, spawning a generation of writers attaining international acclaim - Arundhati Roy, Aravind Adiga, Kiran Desai, and many others. Some of the questions that will be addressed are: Who constitutes the main audience for this writing, and (how) does the writing cater to it? How does one position the expatriate Indian writer both residing and publishing abroad? How does English become an Indian language? Is there a thematic congruence in the novels that fall under this category, and does it differ from the thematic concerns of novels written in other Indian languages? Students will be encouraged to read a novel in at least one other Indian language in order to allow them to pose these questions in a more pointed manner.

Course Number: HUL 335 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

This course will study the various aspects of Indian theatre. The linkages between ancient theatre forms and existing forms of indigenous performance in various parts of India - such as the nautanki, the tamasha and the jatra. The energies which were generated in the urban centres through the encounter with European drama - the Parsi theatre, the nascent Marathi stage, the Hindi theatre of Bhartendu Harishchandra and the nationalist theatre of Calcutta -will be explored. Special attention would be paid to the transformation of theatre values with the intervention of the Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA). The focus for the post-Independence period would be on the diverse energies of urban theatre, group theatre and the 'back to the roots' movement. The course would require students to study play-scripts as well as look at accompanying literature to form a concrete idea of the philosophy behind Indian theatrical practice.

Course Number: HUL 884 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

The course focuses on the dominant themes like India's struggle for freedom, partition and communal harmony/ discord, Issues of pluralism and the related problems as reflected in Indian Writing in English. It also aims at a close study of problems of modernization, diaspora and India's quest for identity, Rushdie and Post Rushdie. The students should be prepared to do intense study of the texts and wherever possible a comparative study of the literary representations with the visual and electronic media will also be undertaken. All the genres of literature will be made part of the study.

Course Number: HUL 236 | Credits: 4
Course Objective:

Brief history of the development and importance of drama in Western and Indian contexts. Readings from both ancient and contemporary drama theorists. Generic differences between different forms of drama such as tragedy, comedy, realist, 'folk', Absurd, etc. Detailed study of important examples of different forms of drama.

Course Number: HUL 231 | Credits:
Course Objective:
Course Number: HUL 893 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

The course examines in some detail the nature of the challenge that traditionally preoccupied European writers - how to map the experience of the modern city, and what representational strategies were adequate for capturing the opacity, the fragmentation, and the transitory nature of urban modernity. It goes on to investigate the contemporary postcolonial city in order to understand it in relation to late capitalism, globalization, migration, and postmodern culture, and the challenges these pose to classic modernity. It begins by providing an introduction to some of the most important literature on the city and the major theoretical debates around it, offering students a set of conceptual tools with which to approach the city's incommensurable realities, its problems and its potential. It moves on to a detailed analysis of a number of literary texts, examining some of the ways in which the disjunctive realities of city-life shape new modes of experience, creative expression, and solidarity, without losing sight of the inequities of gender, culture, class, and race that persist and indeed strengthen in the current global economic system.

Course Number: HUL 232 | Credits: 4
Course Objective:

Students would be introduced to the conditions, beginning in 19th century colonial rule in India, which led to the emergent Indian middle-class intelligentsia to experiment with European forms of literature but striving for an alternative expression. Indian languages became the medium through which writers sought to address issues of identity, tradition, modernity, gender, the rural and the urban, the private and the public. The course will study the various experiments in narration, language, characterization and style undertaken by authors to shape these themes.

Course Number: HUL 331 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

The course will undertake a detailed study of some of the most iconic Modernist novels by writers such as Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Franz Kafka and Samuel Beckett. It will examine the radical new ways in which they grappled with language, turned towards interiority, and pushed, in the process, narrative art to its very limits. The discussion will highlight the experimental quality of Modernist literature, as well as situate it within the context of its emergence - the two world wars, the development of psychoanalysis, the growth of metropolitan cities, and scientific and technological advancements.

Course Number: HUL 821 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

The course would introduce the student to the theories of performance and a selection of theatrical practices. Reading theatrical perspectives on the study of performances, alongside studying the development of theatre practices and the insights offered by various theatre practitioners would prepare the student for studying the performative.

Course Number: HUL 235 | Credits: 4
Course Objective:

The socio-politcal contexts which lead to the rise of the novel in Europe – the emergence of print, the expansion of literacy, and the establishment of capitalism. Through a close reading of selected texts accompanying concepts like the rise of the modern individual, varied narrative techniques and national consciousness. The emerging sub-genres of the novel – the comic, the picaresque, the historical novel and the realist novel. The linkage of the novel to the colonial project and its influence on world literature.

Course Number: HUL 382 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

There is more to romanticism than Wordsworth‘s poetry, or even literature in general. Nor is it confined between 1780s and 1830s. Least is it a trend succeeded by Victorianism and realism, and assailed by modernism. Romanticism contends with the question of presentation – of representation of and to oneself. It therefore directly participates in the philosophical discussions of reason, sensibility, emotion, subjectivity, and most importantly the idea of human freedom. This course will familiarize students with romantic movements in arts, in theories of language and society, in post-Kantian philosophy, in attitudes tor religion. Romantics not only engaged in experimental social practices and literary collaborations, but also articulated their necessity for the first time. Can we say that romanticism is at an end? How does it contribute to both a nationalism rooted in folk tradition, and individualism expressed in the cult of the hero, the solitary intellectual? How does it both look back to medieval occult and forward to novelties of science? Why is romanticism fascinated with animals, monsters and machines alike?

Course Number: HUL 340 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

The course will introduce students to selected topics in Literature as decided by the instructor.

Course Number: HUL 882 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

This course will cover drama, prose, and poetry from one of the richest periods of European Literature : the Renaissance. It will relate the production of a work of art to Renaissance history and cultural politics. Tests by Pico, More, Machiavelli, Sidney, Spenser and Shakespeare and others will be examined from the point-of-view of selfhood and survival.

Course Number: HUL 333 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

To introduce students to the history, development and philosophy of the Theatre of the Absurd, which emerged as an important literary and philosophical movement in post World War II Europe. Socio-political background of the theatre of the Absurd, its basis in Existentialist philosophy. The reactions against the conventions of realist theater that dominated this theatre. The pre-occupations of major playwrights with issues of language and the difficulty of communication, the isolation that human beings tend to feel from each other and themes of violence.

Course Number: HUL 336 | Credits: 3
Course Objective:

The course will begin by seeking to distinguish the notion of 'creative' writing. It will contrast this heterogeneous category with other kinds of writing such as the 'functional' writing found in text-books and reportage. Through an analysis of various techniques of writing - in master-texts as well as students' own productions - the course will explore why and how literary texts continue to be a prime source of emotional and intellectual stimulation across cultures. As far as possible, the course will focus on contemporary writing, given that writers write in the 'here and now' even as they imagine the future or return to past memories. Selected readings will be used to focus students' attention on that most difficult of problems: to acquire a style of writing that makes a writer's 'voice' both unique and universal. Finally, students will be required to write in some genre(s) of their choice. These genres will include the classic areas of poetry, fiction and play-writing but will neither exclude non-fiction genres like the essay and biography nor forms of writing thrown up by the 'new media' such as blogs, photo-essays and narrative-writing for story-boards and video-games.