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Indian Literature


Indian Literature

Dr Michael Wessels (OMB 106A)


The Indian literary tradition goes back thousands of years. Writers from other parts of the world, such as China, Persia and Europe, have also written a great deal about the Indian sub-continent. The last forty years have seen a burgeoning of literature in English, both in India itself and in diasporic Indian communities around the world. This literature is characterised by great thematic and formal variation and has made an important contribution not only to Indian literature as such but to world and postcolonial literature more generally. The course will explore a selection of Indian literature in English. The emphasis will be on the novel but reference will also be made to poetry, film, literary theory and the essay. Not all the writers whose work will be discussed in the course can be considered Indian in the narrow sense of the word. Some of the writers come from South Asian countries besides India. Others are British or American, but are concerned with Indian identity in one way or another.

Prescribed Texts:

  • Rushdie, Salman: Midnight’s Children
  • Roy, Arundhati: The God of Small Things
  • Desai, Kiran: The Inheritance of Loss
  • Adiga, Aravind: The White Tiger
  • Lahiri, Jhumpa: The Lowlands
  • Kureishi, Hanif: The Buddha of Suburbia
  • Mohsin, Hamid: The Reluctant Fundamentalist
  • Ondaatje, Michael: The English Patient


The class record will count for 50% of the final mark. It will be made up of two essays of 2500 words, and a class presentation based on original research. There will be one three-hour examination, constituting the other 50%.

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