Assessed Essay Titles

Part One: Approaching Political Fiction. 

To be submitted by 4.00 pm 9/11/10.

There is only one essay question, but there are various ways in which it can be answered, based on one, some or all of the topics outlined in the first part of the module. The purpose of the exercise is to test your knowledge and appreciation of some of the methodological issues raised by political fiction. So the question invites you to address general issues of representation and the possible utility of fiction in writing about politics – it does not ask you to discuss specific works.

‘Art creates realities and worlds. People perceive and conceive in the light of narratives, pictures, and images. That is why art is central to politics, just as it is central to social relationships and to beliefs about nature. There cannot be any representation that reproduces another entity, scene, or conception, but only constructions that may purport to reproduce reality while simplifying, elaborating, accenting, or otherwise constructing actualities and fantasies.’ Critically assess Murray Edelman’s assertions about the importance of fiction to politics.

Part Two: Using Political Fiction.

To be submitted by 4 pm 10/1/11.

Questions in this section require you to focus on specific works of fiction and apply some of the broader ideas examined in the first part of the module to help you analyse them.

1. Account for how US Presidents and/or UK Prime Ministers have been represented in fiction.

2. Account for how women have been depicted in US and/or UK political fiction.

3. Explain the popularity of the political ‘conspiracy’ genre in the US and/or UK.

4. Explain the appeal of ‘populism’ in representations of politics in the US and/or UK.

5. What does the fictional representation of a real political figure of your choosing tell you about attitudes to them and to politics more widely?

Alternatively you can answer a question of your own devising. To do this you must see me and then submit a formal written proposal by email, to which I need to give my written consent. If you don’t follow this procedure and fail to adhere to the agreed question the essay will be awarded a 0 mark.