Music, Art and intrigues

Ref: C3672600

We will read, analyse and discuss two novels that focus on the themes of Art and Culture,with romance as a driving force. Each novel reveals a different aspect of the thriller genre of fiction. One novel, Bel Canto by Ann Patchett is set in an unnamed South American country during a siege. The voice and music of a famous fictional Soprano become integral parts of the plot. The second novel, The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild addresses the question of the value of works of Art in modern times when a painting is found in a junk shop in London. Each novel gives ample opportunity for students to discuss and evaluate the key themes of the course.

Course aim

To read, analyse and discuss two works of literary fiction with a focus on the Arts.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • All students interested in discussing literature are welcome.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the cultural backgrounds of the two novels.
  • Identify the variety of narrative techniques used by writers of different genres of fiction.
  • Compare the use of setting and plot development in different types of fiction.
  • Examine and evaluate the techniques used to create credible characters in fiction.
  • Compare and contrast the styles of writing of prose fiction.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions
  • A file of work will be kept which will help to record your progress

What else do I need to know?

  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • Students should purchase or borrow copies of the two novels, which will be read in this order: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (pubd. 2002) The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild (pubd. 2016)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • Pre reading is helpful, but each novel will be divided into sections, then each section discussed separately, following a schedule provided by the tutor.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here

Download full Course information sheet

Music, Art and intrigues


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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