Thursday, July 19, 2012

READINGS FOR THIS SEMESTER

We have a variety of books to read this semester. In the course "Modern World Literature" we look at Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" purely for its technical appeal. Many ask locally how relevant this book is to Papua New Guineans and the argument we come up with is the novel's power in the development of plot, drama, much suspense and excitement, and the memorable hour of denouement in works of fiction. We also look at the novel as a British novel as far as the English language goes and its very calmness of presentation. Question we ask, as a private aside perhaps, is that why would a woman in her mid-twenties or thereabouts sit away in her study and write a peaceful sounding when there is a war raging about her? Napoleon is about to conquer England, you know.

Other books looked at are those by Naipaul, and a good one, "The Namesake", by Jhumpa Lahiri. A student asks what part of Papua New Guinea Jhumpa Lahiri comes from and another replies, "Kerema." In addition, we look at Kim Scott's "That Dead Man Dance" and some of James Joyce's.

For the course "Cultural Studies II", a course devised by the late Dr. Regis Stella, our course texts are just twofold: Drusilla Modjeska's "The Mountain" and the collection of essays and interviews, "The Post Colonial Critic", featuring GC Spivak. Treating the latter as a central point of interest in thematics we place some emphasis on the phenomenon of epistemic violence: what it it? where do we find it? who uses it? and for what ultimate good? etc. Both texts become thoroughly, thoroughly useful in that sense.

Happy semester readings, students of Literature throughout Papua New Guinea!