For the past twenty years or so, the hybrid form of the `novel in verse` has enjoyed a veritable boom in anglophone literatures all over the world. Not that `verse novels` were a recent phenomenon (as, e.g. Pushkin`s `Eugen Onegin` or Goethe`s `Hermann and Dorothea` demonstrate). The recent trend, however, marks a new peak and merits some closer attention, not least since a large number of these texts are written from postcolonial locations, especially the Caribbean, Canada and Australia. In our seminar we will read and discuss one particularly influential exemplar of this emergent form, namely Derek Walcott`s `Omeros`, along with a corpus of theoretical and critical assessments of the genre in between poetry and narrative.
In the second half of the semester, our seminar will become a collective research project in which each participant (or, if preferred, small work groups) will focus on one verse novel and analyse it in light of the critical and theoretical work that has been developed around the genre in the past ten years.
Buy and read by the beginning of the semester: Derek Walcott, `Omeros`.
3 CPs for regualr active participation project work in form of an in-class presentation and as a 5 pp. thesis.

While `character` is of central importance for our sponatnaeous and affective engagement with literary texts (especially narrative and drama, and by extension, film), its status as a theoretical category has been questioned by virtually all influential schools of literary criticism in the past 50 years or so: Character, as feminist critic Hélène Cixous claimed more than 30 years ago, is a hangover from 19th century humanism. Interstingly, however, this moribund category has a powerful comeback in current literary theory. In our seminar we will first take a look at some of the more influential debunkings of `character` and then read a sample of recent reassessments of the concept. Our discussions will be grounded in two primary texts, William Shakespeare`s `Othello` and Arundhati Roy`s `The God of Small Things` which participants are expected to be familiar with at the beginning of the semester.
A reader will be made available at the beginning of the semester.
In addition buy and (re-)read `Othello` and `The God of Small Things`.
3 CPs for regular active participation and two response papers.
A further 3 CPs for a term paper (Modularbeit)