On its publication in 2016, Ali Smiths Autumn was widely appraised as a "Brexit novel" capturing the sombre climate in Britain shortly after the vote to leave the European Union. Autumn was only the first part of a series that follows the seasonal cycle, and two further books have appeared so far – Winter (2017) and Spring (2019) – which further probe into the structure of feeling of a contemporary social landscape. While all these novels – with Summer scheduled to appear in 2020 – qualify as Brexit fiction, they aim to record more generally the state of disorientation and alienation that exists in many modern societies, but also offer suggestions how this deplorable condition might be overcome in solidarity.
This reading-intensive course will focus on the three Seasonal novels available up to this point – Autumn, Winter and Summer – with side-looks given to further writings by Smith as well as relevant intertexts.