ENGLISH 140 - First-Year Seminar on English Language and Literature
Section: 002 The Nobel Prize in Literature
Term: WN 2018
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Enrollment restricted to first-year students, including those with sophomore standing.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This is a course on fiction of the last half century or so by winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature. We’ll begin by comparing the complete list of laureates with a list of non-winners (often more distinguished figures) and then turn briefly to some critical readings that try to make sense of, and evaluate, these patterns. Who wins, and why? Where do winners come from? What languages do they write in? What are their values? Which literary genres are represented? And so on.

But nearly all of the semester will be devoted to discussion of a few major novels. We’ll consider this fiction partly through the patterns we derive from the critical readings, but mainly by analyzing the relationship between form and ideology — between postmodernism as a narrative category and the outlook, the worldview, we find in our five texts. Do these works — from North and South America, Europe and Asia Minor, and the Far East — have important structural and thematic features in common, or are they united only by the fact that they were written at roughly the same time? What are the implications of either answer? This, then, is also a course in contemporary world literature, an increasingly important field of study that we will examine empirically, from the inside out.


Gabriel García-Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Imre Kertész, Fatelessness

Orhan Pamuk, My Name Is Red

Mo Yan, Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out

Toni Morrison, A Mercy

Course Requirements:

a) Attendance and regular participation in discussion

b) 15-18 pages of writing: either three 5-6 page papers, or one 5-6 page paper plus a 10-12 page paper

Intended Audience:

First-year students interested in literature

Class Format:


ENGLISH 140 - First-Year Seminar on English Language and Literature
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
MW 8:30AM - 10:00AM
002 (SEM)
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM
004 (SEM)
MW 5:30PM - 7:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 9780060883287
One hundred years of solitude, Author: Gabriel Garcia Marquez ; translated from the Spanish by Gregory Rabassa., Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics 1st Harper 2006
ISBN: 9781400078639
Fatelessness : a novel, Author: by Imre Kertesz ; translated from the Hungarian by Tim Wilkinson., Publisher: Vintage International 1st Vintag 2004
ISBN: 9780375706851
My name is Red, Author: Orhan Pamuk ; translated by Erda? M. Goknar., Publisher: Vintage 1st Vintag 2002
ISBN: 9781611454277
Life and death are wearing me out : a novel, Author: Mo Yan ; translated from the Chinese by Howard Goldblatt., Publisher: Arcade 2012
ISBN: 9780307276766
A mercy, Author: Toni Morrison., Publisher: Vintage International 1st Vintag 2009
Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for ENGLISH 140 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi
The CourseProfile (ART) system, supported by the U-M Provost’s 3rd Century Initiative through a grant to the Office of Academic Innovation, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (ART)