Symbiosis International University Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts

Contemporary Fiction Today


The field of literature studies has grown tremendously in the past couple of decades and now, the traditional discipline of English Literature taught across various Universities has become more and more interdisciplinary. This seminar course draws its methodology from this interdisciplinary nature of Literature and Comparative Literature Studies and combines it with a deep analytical approach to literary texts.

The course will examine original and translated works by major international fiction writers who have achieved both popular success and critical acclaim. The works will be placed against their local contexts as well as the global conditions in which they were produced and in which they thrive. There will be in-depth textual analysis along side with cultural and political understandings of larger issues. 

 Course Objectives 

  • To identify and comprehend the arguments about the interdisciplinary nature of Literature Studies
  • To demonstrate an ability to place structural and cultural readings alongside
  • To interpret the many meanings in fiction texts
  • To apply theoretical concepts in reading
  • To produce new writings on contemporary literature

 Teaching Methodology 

  • Students will be expected to read the texts and the critical literature around the texts prior to the commencement of the various topics
  • This course is a largely discussion based seminar course, where each student will present their own readings of the material
  • Students will be expected to do research and in depth readings on larger issues as well


Students of 2nd, 3rd and 4th Years- those who are interested in humanities and social sciences.

 Course Outline 

S.No. Topic Hours
1. Introduction to an interdisciplinary approach in Literature

- Comparative literature today
- Ideology in Literature studies
- How to read/What to read
- Figure of the individual author
10 hrs
2. Nadine Gordimer: Focus on Burger’s Daughter

- Race as a major theme
- Political activism
- Love
- Language
- Context of South Africa and apartheid laws
- Comparison to Coetzee
10 hours
3. Roberto Bolano and The Savage Detective

- Context of Latin American writing
- Aesthetics of poetry and crime
- Inherent politics
- Purpose of literature and its intersections with Life

8 hours


Orhan Pamuk and My Name is Red

- Concerns of history in fiction
- Genre mixing
- Political context of Turkey
- Conflictual/ fluid identities of east and west

8 hours

5. Jose Saramango and Blindness

- Specific style of writing
- Subversive quality of work
- Fantastic combined with a deep human understanding of realism
- Connect to his entire canon of works
8 hours
  Haruki Murakami and Kafka on the Shore

- Postmodernism
- Plot lines
- Characterization
- Western influences
- Japanese identity?
8 hours
  Individual Project
Choose an author and discuss major thematic/political concerns
8 hours