Myths of Identity in World Literature of the 20th and 21st centuries

Ref: C2420719

This course will examine how questions of identity for individuals have interacted with broader societal questions of gender, class and national identities. We shall concentrate on how identities are formed, sustained and potentially lost due to historical circumstances or the individual psyche.

Course aim

This course will discover how a number of world authors have explored questions of personal identity in the 20th century and the present.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

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

  • Explain how the authors explored the concept of the 'divided-self.'
  • Outline how national identity is important to the characters in Binet's novel.
  • Express an informed view the myths we create for ourselves to sustain our identities.

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

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • Students should read: The Blue Flower – Penelope Fitzgerald. The Woman Who Waited – Andrei Makine. The White Castle – Orhan Pamuk. The Snow Kimono – Mark Henshaw. HhhH – Laurent Binet.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • Read the texts listed above.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation

Download full course information sheet

Myths of Identity in World Literature of the 20th and 21st centuries


This course is funded by the Greater London Combined Authority but is also open to residents of other areas.

As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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