Fall 2012
- Readings in 20th Century American Literature: Contemporary American Fiction

This course focuses primarily on contemporary (post-1965) American fiction, with some attention to other genres.  It highlights issues of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, and the conflict between the “haves” vs. the “have-nots.” Course objectives: 1) to put contemporary American literature in historical context; 2) to analyze its aesthetic influences and antecedents in the genre of the novel (from Cervantes to Orwell); 3) to develop a “feeling for the organism” that is literature.  The non-fiction is not exclusively about the act of creative writing, but that topic is emphasized. Requirements: oral midterm and final exam; one (12-15 pp.) research paper; short presentations on selected texts in class.

 Texts selected from the following: Fiction: Paul Auster, In the Country of Last Things (1987); Don DeLillo, Mao II (1991) or Point Omega (2010); Edwidge Danticat,  The Farming of Bones (1998) or The Dew Breaker (2005); Phillip Roth, The Human Stain (2000); Joseph O’Neill, Netherland (2008); Stacey D’Erasmo, The Sky Below (2009); Chang-rae Lee, A Gesture Life, Native Speaker, or Aloft; Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Fiction. Drama: Anna Deavere Smith, Fires in the Mirror and Twilight; Sam Shepard, True West and/or The Curse of the Starving Class, A Lie of the Mind. Poetry: the poets are too numerous to list, but include Kashmiri- American poet Agiha Shahid Ali, Natasha Trethewey, Susan Stewart. Additional selected nonfiction, short fiction, and possibly visual culture.