History That Never Was: The Counterfactual Novel

Spring 2018-2019


Lauren Schachter

In this course, we will consider counterfactuality in fiction from the 19th century to the 21st. Following critic Catherine Gallagher, we will ask, what if things had happened otherwise? and wonder, along with a range of authors, about the literary, historical, and ethical stakes of our answers. Readings will focus on counterfactual episodes in novels by Austen, Dickens, Conrad, and Murakami, as well as on alternate history fictions by Philip K. Dick, Kate Atkinson, Michael Chabon, L. Sprague de Camp, Kinglsey Amis, and Hilary Mantel, among others. (Fiction)