"A story is never true... but to try and stop telling stories is to entangle yourself in an even deeper level of untruth." (From a review of Monica Ali's Alentejo Blue)
What does it mean to betray? To be betrayed? Betrayal in Contemporary Fiction examines some answers to these questions as reflected in fiction. From the German invasion of France to a lover's picnic in the English countryside, from Noah's Ark to the backlots of 1920s Hollywood, the novels we'll be reading will take us to places where we can find out more about the moral, social, psychological, and emotional dimensions of betrayal. But we'll also consider the extent to which fiction itself might be said to constitute a kind of betrayal of truth. To this end, we'll examine a variety of narrative strategies and think about some of the ways in which novelists betray us in the interests of their fiction. Literary theory will help us to frame our findings, think critically, and begin to answer the question: Does fictional betrayal take us further away from the truth or help us understand reality in entirely new ways?
Students who have taken ENGL 402 Betrayal in Contemporary Fiction cannot take this course.