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

Where is the South? Increasingly, scholars in American literary and cultural studies have called for a re-imagining of the U.S. South that situates the region within a global context. Although scholars of Latin American literature and culture have been attune to the dialectic of cultural production in the Americas, “New Southern Studies,” as an emerging field and discipline has been concerned with the U.S. South in global contexts. Work that situates the South in the United States in a postcolonial perspective is invested in disrupting the nation-based North-South binary to explore the region’s continuities and discontinuities with formerly colonized societies in the Caribbean and Latin America. Finally, framed as a survey, 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. We will consider how post-war (Civil War, World Wars) 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. Texts include: Jean Toomer, Cane (1923), Alain Locke, ed. The New Negro (1925), Eugene O’Neill, Emperor Jones (1920), William Faulkner Absalom, Absalom! (1936), Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire (1946), Gabriel García Marquéz, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera (1987), Anna Deveare Smith, Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 (1992), Edouard Glissant, Faulkner, Mississippi (2000), Sandra Cisneros, Caramelo (2002)


Two English courses in literature; or permission of ARHU-English department.