This seminar is designed to pursue an angle on relations between literary texts that seems to be particularly pertinent to school teaching. We shall be studying fiction undertaking a “rewriting” of a classic work of literature, thus transforming its pretext by inserting new, modern referents, negotiating what a particular canonic text may mean to readers today (including, perhaps, its fictive protagonist), in what sense and shape it may still be considered significant, or what its blind spots and underlying ideology may be. Rewriting the canon from a postcolonial angle has been a key concern of writers such as Jean Rhys and Coetzee, thus bringing to the fore the entanglement of the English canon with empire. There is a wealth of texts to choose from; however, not surprisingly Shakespeare’s works have served as key pretexts for rewritings, particularly in the Hogarth Shakespeare project (https://hogarthshakespeare.com), and we shall be studying at least one text from this project.
- Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966)
- M. Coetzee, Foe (1986)
- Margaret Atwood, Hag-Seed (2016)