Change: Metamodernism and the Twenty-First-Century Novel
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleLET-LETKM005
Credits (ECTS)5
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Arts; Letterkunde;
dr. D. Kersten
Other course modules lecturer
dr. U.M. Wilbers
Other course modules lecturer
dr. U.M. Wilbers
Other course modules lecturer
dr. U.M. Wilbers
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
dr. U.M. Wilbers
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2022
PER 3  (30/01/2023 to 09/04/2023)
Starting block
Course mode
RemarksAccessible to exchange students.
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesYes
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
- At the end of the course, students will have expanded their reading experience of contemporary British fiction.
- They will be able to analyse and assess literary as well as critical texts.
- They will be able to evaluate current theoretical debates about the British novel, literary criticism and metamodernism and articulate their own positions in discussions that take place at the intersections of these debates.
- They will be able to organise their work individually and operate in peer groups.
- They will be able to investigate part of a larger research project both individually and in groups as well as report on their findings both in an oral presentation and a formal research paper.
Over the past ten years, quite a number of British novels have been received as instances of a return to, or at least an engagement with literary modernism. Nicola Barker, Tom McCarthy, Will Self and Zadie Smith have all published fiction that is regularly described as evincing this perceived neo-, retro-, or metamodernism. Critics and reviewers use terms like “avant-garde”, “Futurist,” “Woolfian” and “stream-of-consciousness” to categorise and evaluate the experimental works of these authors. This raises questions about the value, status and function of concepts associated with modernism, the state of literary criticism and the future of the British novel. Do authors like McCarthy and Self imitate the historical avant-garde? Or are they labelled “avant-garde” because they are ahead of their contemporaries? A new and exciting Radboud research project, devoted to topical questions like these, aims to chart the use of modernist terms in the reception of twenty-first-century British fiction.    
This course offers students the opportunity to participate in current research and contribute to the understanding of the complex relation between contemporary British fiction and the legacy of literary modernism. With its focus on literary criticism, the positioning of the author in the literary field and the use of branding by publishers, The Imitation Game echoes and builds on various emphases of the programme "Literair Bedrijf." The first part will consist of a series of seminars that will introduce students to the metamodernism debate and its relevance to the case study of British fiction and its reception as well as to the theory and practice of criticism and reviewing. Students will be assigned a recent British novel and investigate its reception as well as its author's self-presentation in small research groups. Groups will present their results in a final plenary session or mini-symposium that will conclude the course. 

Presumed foreknowledge
Bachelor in Taal- en Cultuuropleiding, see entry requirements of Master in Literature; Note for exchange students: Students cannot take this course if their English proficiency level is not at least C1 on the CEFR grid.
Test information


Recommended materials
Title:To be announced on Brightspace before the start of the course.

Instructional modes

Plenary seminar, research groups, self-study.

Test weight100
Test typeProject
OpportunitiesBlock PER 3, Block PER 4

Minimum grade