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The Post-War: 1945 to the present


Module description

This module aims to analyse the historical transformations of literature and cultural thought since 1945, using the contexts of post-war reconstruction, decolonisation, the fate of avant-garde art, and theories of postmodernity and globalisation. The emergence of international literary paradigms during the twentieth century is reflected in the choice of texts from British, American and post-colonial contexts. 

Indicative module syllabus

  • Introduction to the Module: Periodising the Post-War 
  • 1940s: Late Modernism
  • 1950s: Postwar Poetics
  • 1960s: Counter-Culture
  • 1970: Feminism & Dissensus 
  • 1980s: High Postmodernism
  • Contemporary Narratives: Migration and Transnationalism
  • Contemporary Narratives: Trauma
  • Contemporary Narratives: Speculative Fiction
  • Dissertation Planning

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you should have:

  • formed an understanding of the relations between literature and cultural history in the post-war period
  • explored some of the key paradigms of understanding post-1945 literature, ranging from the ‘post-war’ to the ‘post-colonial’ to the ‘post-modern’
  • developed the ability to read texts closely and consider the specific textual strategies employed by different writers in this era
  • engaged with ideas of ‘the contemporary’ as both a period and a concept
  • demonstrated a thorough grounding in the key concepts for literary study of modernity
  • recognised the post-war as a historical category, postmodernism, globalisation and the contemporary
  • situated post-1945 texts within a number of historical, literary and broader cultural contexts
  • researched and written an essay demonstrating this knowledge and understanding.