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

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

Modernism, Postmodernism. Writers such as Stevens, Stein, Ellison.

From modernism to postmodernism and beyond, from World War I and the “Lost Generation” to 9/11 and Millennials, from jazz poets to graphic novelists, this course will explore twentieth and twenty-first century literature. Tracking political and cultural developments through this period, we will examine how literature responds to and influences our conceptions of America. Along the way, we’ll ask questions such as…

  • What are the major literary movements of the period, and why/how did they come about? Who participates in them – and who deviates from them?
  • How do different writers use various genres, and how do they create new generic categories?
  • How do literature and law interact, especially regarding legislative acts and judicial decisions such the Sedition Act of 1918, Korematsu v. U.S., Brown v. Board of Education, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, Roe v. Wade, and the Patriot Act?
  • How do increasing transnational networks and globalization in this period shape U.S. literary production?

Potential authors include: James Weldon Johnson, Ernest Hemingway, Jean Toomer, Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, John Dos Passos, Jovita González, Zora Neale Hurston, Miné Okubo, James Baldwin, Kurt Vonnegut, Gloria Anzaldúa, Hisaye Yamamoto, Edward Albee, Anne Sexton, Toni Morrison, Sherman Alexie, Cherríe Moraga, Kyle Baker, Chang-Rae Lee, Anna Deavere Smith, Ayad Akhtar, and Lin-Manuel Miranda