ENGL 355

Books of the Booker Prize

From 1968 to 2013, the Man Booker prize was awarded annually to the ?finest? full-length novel written by a citizen of the British Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland, and bestowed honor, recognition, and controversy upon the winning author. The Booker inhabits an uneasy intersection of high art and mass cultural approbation, and while the judges would likely assert that the prize considers aesthetic matters only, a more realistic assessment would suggest that issues of historical contingency inevitably inflect the selection process. By studying winning novels by such authors as J. G. Farrell, Salman Rushdie, A. S. Byatt, and Ben Okri and considering relevant literary criticism and scholarship on the marketing of literary fiction, this course explores what the Booker Prize reveals about changing notions of postcolonial politics, economic structure, and gender roles?in short, of British national identity and Commonwealth affiliation.

Prerequisites: ENGL 220, one course from ENGL 221-239 strongly recommended.