Course overview

This course will explore the following texts: Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad; Short Stories by Kipling; The Siege of Krishnapur - JG Farrell; The Jewel in the Crown - Paul Scott, and The English Patient - Michael Ondaatje. The course will track the decline of Empire and the concomitant social and political uncertainty, the relationship between the colonial and the colonised Other, and develop themes relating to identity and the subjective nature of historical revision. There will be ample scope for discussion of at times difficult and controversial debates, and we will focus on the continuing relationship that exists between contemporary writers and later writers vis-a-vis issues of guilt and responsibility.

Course description

Our first text Heart of Darkness will establish the issue of the colonial pillage of Empire and relate this to emerging concepts of the dark heart of man, discussing issues such as eugenics, nationalism and idealism, as well as assessing Conrad’s inimitable style. We will develop these themes in Kipling’s short stories, and argue that these stories show Kipling as a far more complicated individual than the popular imagination allows, which has latterly viewed him as an apologist for Empire. The Siege of Krishnapur and The Jewel in the Crown sees us remaining in India, but an India and the British in India, assessed from a more modern perspective. In The Jewel in the Crown we will focus on questions of identity and the failure of liberal democracy during the mismanagement of Britain’s exit from the subcontinent. These texts will raise important issues of guilt and responsibility and the necessity for continued reassessments of Britain’s imposition of Empire. Finally, we will tackle The English Patient and evaluate its use of postmodern techniques applied to the relation of narrative. There is much to discuss in these fascinating and provocative texts as we shall discover.

What financial support is available?

We don't want anything to stand in your way when it comes to bringing Adult learning within reach so if you need anything to support you to achieve your goals then speak to one of our education experts during your enrolment journey. Most of our courses are government funded but if you don't qualify or need alternative financial help to access them then let us know.

What other support is available?

All of our digital content, teaching and learning activities and assessments are designed to be accessible so if you need any additional support you can discuss this with the education experts during your enrolment journey and we will do all we can to make sure you have optimal access.

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