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Faulks: Birdsong

3. Structure and Perspective

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the structure of the novel, focusing in particular on the importance of the division into seven parts, and the interaction between those parts of the novel set in peacetime (e.g. Part 1, Part 7) and those set in war.


In this course, Dr Allison Adler Kroll (University of Oxford) explores Sebastian Faulks' 1993 novel, Birdsong. We begin by thinking about the genesis of the novel – why did Faulks want to write a story about the First World War in the early nineties? After that, we think about the significance of the title of the novel – 'Birdsong' – and its epigraph, a poem by the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore, before turning in the third module to the novel's seven-part structure. From the fourth to the ninth modules, we think about the significance of particular characters or groups of characters, including Stephen Wraysford, Jack Firebrace, Isabelle Azaire, and others, before moving on in the tenth module to think about the various settings of the novel – pre-war Amiens, the trenches and tunnels of the war itself, and 1970s England. Finally, in the eleventh module, we think about some of the key themes in the novel, its literary influences, and the importance of faith.


Allison Adler Kroll is finishing a DPhil on the Whig aristocracy at Merton College, Oxford. She completed a previous doctorate in Victorian and modern literature at UCLA and has lectured at UCLA, Loyola Marymount, and UC Irvine. She has published essays on Tennyson and Hardy, in Victorian Poetry and Nineteenth-Century Contexts respectively, and is currently revising her literary thesis, National Faith: Heritage Culture and English Identity from Tennyson to Byatt, for publication in book form.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Adler Kroll, A. (2018, August 15). Faulks: Birdsong - Structure and Perspective [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Adler Kroll, A. "Faulks: Birdsong – Structure and Perspective." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,