Twentieth-Century American Fiction

4:00p-5:15p TR (30 students) 3 CR. - Satisfies A&H Distribution Requirement

The twentieth-century American literary tradition is a series of rewritings. While reading a wide range of texts written throughout the century, can we identity patterns and shifts in American literary representations of regionalism, race, and ethnicity? Is there an ongoing conversation about the very meaning of an American identity? Do shifting understandings of American identity lead to shifts in the form of the American novel? Since Gertrude Stein's Three Lives (1909) can be explored in terms of American realism, naturalism, modernism, and postmodernism, this text will be the springboard of our analysis and complication of the move from realism and naturalism to modernism and postmodernism. As we focus on these literary movements, we will explore a range of rewritings: Winesburg, Ohio (Sherwood Anderson, 1919) and Cane (Jean Toomer, 1923); Sister Carrie (Theodore Dreiser, 1900) and Native Son (Richard Wright, 1940); Gone with the Wind (Margaret Mitchell, 1936) and The Wind Done Gone (Alice Randall, 2001); Absalom, Absalom! (Faulkner, 1936) and Jazz (Morrison, 1992); and Invisible Man (Ellison, 1952) and The Woman Warrior (Kingston, 1975).

The class will be discussion-oriented. Three five page essays will be assigned. There will also be a final exam.