Narrative Mode and Fiction

By Prof. Sarbani Banerjee   |   IIT Roorkee
Learners enrolled: 371
The course familiarizes students with the generic features of epic, novel and short story. It explores the development and historical trajectories of novel and short story, and their similarities and differences. It studies the inception and evolution of science fiction as a genre and the major features of magical realism. The course consults important critical thoughts and reads a range of literary works to understand the different genres. At the end of the course, students will be equipped with the art, craft and literary techniques of different forms of fiction.
Course Status : Completed
Course Type : Elective
Duration : 12 weeks
Category :
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit Points : 3
Level : Undergraduate/Postgraduate
Start Date : 23 Jan 2023
End Date : 14 Apr 2023
Enrollment Ends : 06 Feb 2023
Exam Registration Ends : 17 Mar 2023
Exam Date : 29 Apr 2023 IST

Note: This exam date is subjected to change based on seat availability. You can check final exam date on your hall ticket.

Page Visits

Course layout

Week 1 : Genealogy of Genre: Genre and neo-/classical formulation; Prescription of generic purity and hybridity of genres in practice; Genre and cultural context; Intermediate genres; Genre as reflecting the spirit of the age

Week 2 : Fiction and Different Modes of Narrative: Epic and Novel – relation of time and space with events; Scope and worldview of epic and novel; Epic hero and novel hero; Era of novelization

Week 3 : Commentary on the Genre of Novel: Through selected artwork, following topics will be discussed – Polyglossia and the essence of history; The protagonist as the novel hero; Hilarity understood through horizon of expectations; From novel to history as a metafictional device; New readership and a new language mode

Week 4 : Novel and Existence: Novel and different aspects of existence (Seinsvergessenheit); Novel in/and the changing society; Dasein; Novel and being in the world (in-der-welt-sein); Polyhistoricism

Week 5 : Features of the Novel: Narrative strategy - Story and plot; Reader and critic; Time, narrative, narrative voice/s; History and novel; Fantasy and dream; Life and Fiction; Fantasy and Prophecy; Parody and Intertextuality

Week 6 : Tragedy and Comic Absurdity in Novel: Protagonist’s journey as a lack of totality and telos; Failure of language and breakdown of communication; Circular pattern of narrative and futility of existence

Week 7 : The Modern Novel: Through selected novel/s, following topics will be discussed – Human psyche; Agency of the reader; Imagination, irrationality, reflection; Narrator and/as character; Time and temporality; Theme and poetic unity

Week 8 : Short Story in the Modern and Post-modern Era: Short story as a genre; Through selected short stories, following topics will be discussed – brevity, non-story, multiple truths, quest for identity, disruption of/from the familiar

Week 9 : Short Story and Novel: Narrativity, time and form; Plot, central problem and stylistic devices; Realistic and metaphorical approaches, character as a symbol; Historical trajectory

Week 10 : Science Fiction: Inception and development of Science Fiction; Science Fiction and Techno-Cultural Experience; Speculation, extrapolation and critical investigation; Science Fiction and pulp tradition; Science Fiction film; Science fiction and feminism – the Cyborg

Week 11 : Magical Realism: Magical realism and post-modern artwork; From Expressionism to Magical Realism; Mystic and magical; Syncriticism and the magical ideal; New objectivity; Derealization, defamiliarization and fabulation

Week 12 : Future of Fictional Writing: New genres and experimentations; Reading a book and/in the era of digitization; Narrative and temporality in the era of digitization; Reading in translation

Books and references

1. E.M. Forster, Aspects of the Novel. New York: Rosetta Books.
2. Mikhail Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination Four Essays. Austin: University of Texas Press.
3. Milan Kundera, The Art of the Novel. New York: Grove Press. New York: RosettaBooks.
4. Rust Hills. Writing in General and the ShortStory in Particular. Boston: Mariner Books.

Instructor bio

Prof. Sarbani Banerjee

IIT Roorkee
Prof. Sarbani Banerjee earned her PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Western Ontario (2015). Her areas of specialization include Postcolonial literatures and theory, Canadian literature and culture, Post-Partition Bengali literature and cinema, Diasporic literatures, and Women’s studies. She worked as Dr. S. Radhakrishnan Post Doctoral Fellow (University Grants Commission, 2017-20). Currently, she is Assistant Professor of English in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at IIT, Roorkee.

Course certificate

The course is free to enroll and learn from. But if you want a certificate, you have to register and write the proctored exam conducted by us in person at any of the designated exam centres.
The exam is optional for a fee of Rs 1000/- (Rupees one thousand only).
Date and Time of Exams: 29 April 2023 Morning session 9am to 12 noon; Afternoon Session 2pm to 5pm.
Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published. If there are any changes, it will be mentioned then.
Please check the form for more details on the cities where the exams will be held, the conditions you agree to when you fill the form etc.


Average assignment score = 25% of average of best 8 assignments out of the total 12 assignments given in the course.
Exam score = 75% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100

Final score = Average assignment score + Exam score

YOU WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR A CERTIFICATE ONLY IF AVERAGE ASSIGNMENT SCORE >=10/25 AND EXAM SCORE >= 30/75. If one of the 2 criteria is not met, you will not get the certificate even if the Final score >= 40/100.

Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT Roorkee. It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.

Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies will not be dispatched.

Once again, thanks for your interest in our online courses and certification. Happy learning.

- NPTEL team

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