Text and Community 2004
The English Patient

Each year, the Text and Community program conducts a semester-long project at George Mason University that seeks to foster exchanges across the disciplines and interpretations of a text from multiple perspectives. The Spring 2004 Text and Community selection is Michael Ondaatje's novel The English Patient. We welcome your participation in this year's exciting series of Text and Community events, including a visit by Michael Ondaatje to the George Mason campus.

The English Patient, winner of the 1992 Booker Prize, collects an unlikely group of characters in a bombed-out villa in Italy at the close of World War II. In this strange interlude between war and peace, Hana, a Canadian nurse, and her patient, a severely burned man of mysterious identity, are joined at the villa by Kip, a Sikh sapper, and by the master thief Caravaggio. Through the stories these characters tell each other, the novel moves outward to the North African desert, to England, India and Canada, and to a world being utterly transformed by yet-unimagined forms of violence. The novel juxtaposes fact and invention, intimate histories and the history of nations, and texts and images from popular music to Renaissance paintings, ancient histories to modern narratives of desert expeditions, in its explorations of love, loyalty and trust, the intersections of race, nationality, and empire, and the nature of memory. The English Patient was adapted for the screen by director Anthony Minghella in 1996 in his Academy-Award-winning film of the same name.


Text and Community is a program of the English Department at George Mason University.
The English Department gratefully acknowledges the Office of University Life,
the Cultural Studies Program, the Office of the Provost, the Undergraduate English Society,
and International Week for their support of this year's Text and Community events.
This website is sponsored and created by the New Media Group in English
with the assistance of the College of Arts and Sciences