The English Comic Novel in the 20th Century

Learn about the history of comic writing in English and become familiar with some of the greats of this most neglected tradition. Come on a fascinating literary journey as we explore the insights of some of the best writers of the 20th century: E. F. Benson, P. G. Wodehouse, Nancy Mitford and Barbara Pym. Discover how wit and genius can be combined. Humorous writing has always been wildly popular but often critically neglected. From the veiled secrets of the Edwardian bedroom to the sometimes-stark realities of women in post-WWII Britain, this course looks at how social history can be cleverly concealed inside a jolly good chuckle..

DELIVERY MODE

  • Face-to-Face

SUGGESTED READING

  • E. F. Benson, Complete Mapp and Lucia Vol.1 (Wordsworth Classics: 2011)
  • Nancy Mitford, The Pursuit of Love (Penguin: 2018)
  • Nancy Mitford, Love in a Cold Climate (Penguin: 2008)
  • Barbara Pym, Jane and Prudence (Open Road: 2013)
  • Saki, Saki: Selected Stories (Everyman: 2017)
  • A. J. A. Symons, The Quest for Corvo (Penguin Books: 2018)
  • Evelyn Waugh, Vile Bodies (Penguin: 2011)
  • P. G. Wodehouse, Cocktail Time (W. W. Norton: 2013)

COURSE OUTLINE

  • E. F. Benson: We will see how Benson’s extraordinary literary family helped create a competitive atmosphere for him to write the cult-favourite Lucia novels. From hack-writing and creating WW1 propaganda to his legendary re-creations of small-town English life, Benson’s career saw him unwittingly break new ground in the English novel. A deeper knowledge of Benson and his work helps to enrich our reading lives across the board. Understand how his gentle social comedies work and what ideas they are exploring
  • P. G. Wodehouse: Examines Wodehouse’s thoroughly English (and extraordinarily prolific) nov-els and how their slightly prim fictional world was adored by some surprising people. Wode-house’s vision of a happy life and his own accidents in history. How does Wodehouse’s own precarious social position and location affect the geography of nostalgia in his work?
  • Nancy Mitford: Looking closely at her phenomenally successful novels The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate, we will examine how Mitford fictionalised her fabulous friends and helped make her generation the stuff of legends. Her great talent for friendship and how it coun-terbalanced a rather sad romantic life. Does Mitford’s writing subvert convention and criticise society?
  • Barbara Pym: A gentler comic vision and a deceptively fascinating life that charted many of the interesting social changes of post-WW2 Britain. Why is there more academic interest in her work than in the other writers we examine? Broadening our reading beyond Pym, and extending the boundaries of the humorous
$145 Limited / $131

<p>Learn about the history of comic writing in English and become familiar with some of the greats of this most neglected tradition. Come on a fascinating literary journey as we explore the insights

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09 Nov

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Course testimonials:

  • Great course and great teacher. Thoroughly enjoyed each meeting. Wished it could have gone on longer
  • Fabulous course - really enjoyed it. Wished it was longer!