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ENGL433 - American Literature 1914 to the Present, the Modern Period: Aesthetic and Historical Encounters, 1900-1945
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explores diverse developments in U.S. fiction and poetry during the modern
period (1900-1945)—and asks what their relationship is both to the
contemporary developments in U.S. and world history and politics that
motivated them. The modern period in U.S. literary history is well-known as
an era of vast upheaval in the possibilities of artistic and cultural
expression. Some of the most celebrated authors in U.S. literary history;
some of the most diverse and ambitious and unjustly forgotten and dangerously
polemical voices; some of the most cosmopolitan and insular, radical and
reactionary, obscene and insipid, experimental and ordinary, forms of
expression, exploded in hybrid and counterpointed contact with one another
during this time. Yet the modern era was also a period of explosive political
and historical change in the U.S. Enfolding both domestic and international
dimensions, this period saw the dawn of the U.S. on the world stage as a
military and imperial power; the agonizing complexities of its involvements
in two world wars; the invention of the modern presidency, the nature of
modern government, modern interpretations of the U.S. Constitution, and the
meaning of the two major modern U.S. political parties; the advent of racial
segregation and the nadir of race-relations and race violence in U.S.
history; deep suspicion of foreigners and the first U.S. legislation
restricting immigration; the transition of the U.S. from rural to urban
social dominance; fantastic strides in the power of technology, mass media,
and corporate capitalism; recurrent paranoias of labor, socialist, and
Bolshevist unrest; crucial developments in the history of feminism and
sexuality—and much more. This course examines the relationship between modern
American literature and modern American history; at ultimate issue, moreover,
is the question of *why* one should write or read "American"
literature, especially in the increasingly global era that is our own.
Authors include Pauline Hopkins, WEB DuBois, Willa Cather, Robert Frost,
H.D., T.S. Eliot, Claude McKay, William Carlos Williams, F. Scott Fitzgerald,
Jovita González, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Katherine Anne Porter.
Two papers and a final.
Two English courses in literature or permission of the department.