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English literature: Growing up in difficult times…the Monday class starts reading a new book!

5. Februar 2018

The Black Album – Haneif Kureishi

The Monday literature group has just finished reading „This Side of Paradise“,by Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby). It is Fitzgerald’s developmental novel (Entwicklungs Roman) which he wrote in his twenties during the 1920’s. In his lifetime it sold far more than Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald describes the story of young Amory Blaine who grew up in the years before and after the First World War. Fitzgerald was the poet of the Jazz Age, but in fact what he describes in this his most popular novel in his lifetime is a generation who found their identity in the epoch of modernism, that was cut through the middle by the War to end all Wars – the lost generation.

Starting Monday February 12 we want to start with another developmental novel,

The Black Album by the British author Haneif Kureishi. Kureishi became popular with his screenplay, “My Beautiful Laundrette” which is about a young person seeking identity in the 80s. In his novel The Black Album, which was published in the 90’s, Kureishi describes the coming of age of Shahid in the UK at the time. Son of Muslim immigrants Sharid goes to London to study. There he falls in love with poetry and freedom. His normal need to belong and the distance from his family makes him vulnerable to feelings of rootlessness in the country of his birth which promises opportunities, but doesn’t seem to deliver them. Kureishi describes the dangers of finding identity in the special context of biculturality. He weaves his story through the maze of the natural wanting to belong within a context of special conflicts of being different in the country of your birth.

The novel is humorous, sexy but with a dark undertone that becomes more powerful as the novel proceeds.

We will look at comparisons of both novels, but it is not necessary that you have read “This Side of Paradise”. Common themes will be the issues confronting every generation of young people. These include the themes of love, lust, family origins and their values and conflicts with new values. In the Black Album we will also look at the special theme of biculturality.

If you are interested in joining the discussion, you are welcome to “schnupper” even without a book.

Time: Mondays at 20:00 hours
Place: Room 14 (The Club Room) Prolinguis
Level: B2/C1
Look forward to seeing you.

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