ENGL433 - American Literature: 1914 to the Present, the Modern Period

This course on twentieth century American literature will take as its central problem the formal transition from modernism to post-modern literary form in twentieth century U.S. literature. Through a reading of texts from 1914 to the present, this course charts several arcs in the postwar United States, such as identity movements, the rise and fall of the postwar economy, and the changing status of America as superpower. This seminar will focus on a variety of different texts from the twentieth century in order to explore the modes through which rapid technological, political, and economic changes are represented in literature. Simultaneously, we will also address how issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality shape text and genre. We will consider how postwar literature both reflects and challenges its social and historical context, while considering what, if anything, ties these texts together as American literature. Ultimately, this course will ask you to make a case for how you see the development of U.S. literature in the twentieth century. Authors include William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston, Joan Didion, Toni Morrison, Luis Valdez, and David Henry Hwang. Two 9-10 page papers, a number of short response papers, and a final exam.


Two English courses or permission of department.