Dystopias: Recent Perspectives on the Family in Literature and Visual Media will focus on how the family emerged from the apocalypse of the World Wars and the post-war era. We will particularly pay attention to how real and imagined dystopian worlds envision the family. In this course, we will be looking at American, English, Irish and Scottish literature, film, television and documentaries in order to explore this change. From terrible mothers in D.H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers to incestuous fathers in Sunset Song, from the godless society of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World to the God-infused prose of Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, from childbearing vessels in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale to the massacre of children in the dystopian world of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games, we will examine how 20th- and 21st-century fears of the future play out on family dynamics. If, for instance, the parental unit breaks down, who comes in to fulfill that role? How do these dysfunctional relationships reflect the author’s criticism of her or his society? What can the ‘literary’ do that other forms of communication cannot and vice versa?
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