Modern Fiction

Rhodes>Modern Fiction

Welcome to the magical world of fiction!


If you like to read books and watch movies, you will love Modern Fiction.

Modern Fiction is jointly taught by the different language sections in the School of Languages and Literatures.

The aim of Modern Fiction is to explore the following questions:

  • Why do we tell stories?
  • Why should one read fiction?
  • How should one read?

These questions have numerous possible answers. We hope that one answer – perhaps the most important one – to the second question will become clear early on in the course: reading fiction is fun!

Broadly speaking, “fiction” refers to the imaginary worlds created by the stories we tell. "Modern fiction” covers texts produced from the 19th century to the present day. In Modern Fiction 2021 the focus will mainly be on prose fiction translated from other languages into English. A significant section of the course will also investigate the "language" of film and its development as a form of narrative fiction.

In 2021, the course will consist of the following sections:

  • Reading Fiction: short stories and narratology
    We look at the main elements of fiction: genre, character, point of view, theme, time and space. We introduce major movements in prose fiction: romanticism, realism, naturalism, modernism and post-modernism. For the purpose of this introduction, we read a fascinating selection of short stories, most of which have been translated from other languages into English.

  • World literature
    Novels, novellas and short stories by major international authors:
    • Thomas Mann, Death in Venice (German) Text will be provided.
    • Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis (German) Text will be provided.
    • Patrick Modiano, Dora Bruder (French)
    • Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Czech)
    • W F Hermans, An Untouched House (Dutch) 
    • Lu Xun. A selection of the author’s short stories will be provided. (Chinese)
    • Etienne van Heerden, Ancestral Voices (Afrikaans)
    • André Brink, Devil's Valley (Afrikaans)
    • Donna Tartt, The Secret History (an English-language detective novel, strongly influenced by classical Greek culture)
  • Reading film
    We explore the language of film and its development as a medium for story-telling. The movies that will be discussed include the very earliest examples of the medium, "art" movies from across the world, landmark films from Hollywood, as well as some of the best recent releases.

Modern Fiction is open to all students who have already obtained at least two credits, including those who have not previously done any literature courses.

Timetable - the official lecture times are as follows:

Tuesday 12h20
Wednesday 14h15
Thursday 15h10
Friday 12h20

What are you waiting for? Fiction is tremendous fun as well as intellectually enriching.

For more information, feel free to contact the co-ordinator of the course, Anton Vorster, at

Experience the magic...