Echoes of the Past: Media and the Contemporary Novel

Literature | Philosophy

Course Description

This course will look at how contemporary novels, written in the midst of significant technological and social media shifts, reflect on the quest for intimacy and real connection. Are the current changes in our media-based culture making it more difficult to relate to others and to find a meaningful place in society? Looking into how the novel may be changing to reflect prevalent technology-related shifts, we discover that new media is a very old tale. 

Along with other influences, echoes of E. M. Forster’s work on connection, Plato’s on illusion, and Marshall McLuhan’s on media can be heard in several of the novels written in the past decade. How is meaningful human connection depicted in this literature? Has the impact of media been so dramatic that it has affected our relations with our fellow human beings? Do we still speak a common language that facilitates understanding and allows us to share  perspectives? We will consider these and other questions while reading Sympathy, The Cave, Super Sad True Love Story, among other literature.

Books to Purchase (will be available at Argo Bookshop during the weeks prior to the course beginning):

    • Super Sad True Love Story, Gary Shteyngart (ISBN: 9780812977868)
    • Sympathy, Olivia Sudjic (ISBN: 9781328916204)
    • The Cave, José Saramago (translated by Margaret Jull Costa) (ISBN: 9780151004140)

Please note that this course has a maximum enrollment of 14 students.

NEW PAYMENT POLICY: Participants must pay the course fees in order to be considered registered for the course. 

For fully registered courses, a waiting list will be created. Should vacancies develop, those on the waiting list will be contacted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please note that we do not allow participants to audit courses for free.

Course Details

Location: Atwater

First Session: Thursday 16 March 2023

Course Length: 12 weeks, Thursdays, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Discussion Team: Irene Menear, Marilyn Kaplow, Louise Jarrett

Degree Credit: 0 credits

Course Fees: 

$150.00 (standard tuition)

$100.00 (promotion for new students)

Administrative Fee:



$185.00 (standard tuition)

$135.00 (promotion for new students)


Course fees are refundable in full before the second session. After the second session, a fee of $50 for the withdrawal will be applied. Refunds will not be issued after the third session. Please note that non-attendance does not constitute a withdrawal.

Students pursuing studies for credit are encouraged to consult with their advisers as they register for courses.

Course leaders, and students wishing to use credit vouchers, should call (514) 935-9585 to pay by phone or to schedule an appointment to pay in person.

Fill the following form to register

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