English | Topics in Current Literature
W664 | TBA | Belton
W664 TBA BELTON
Topics in Current Literature
11:15a – 12:30p TR
TOPIC: COSMOPOLITANISM AND THE CONTEMPORARY NOVEL
AUTHORIZATION OF INSTRUCTOR REQUIRED.
This course engages the cosmopolitan aesthetic in American
literature and the drama of identity provoked by cross-cultural
encounter to explore a set of contemporary novels. We will consider
how, in literary culture, cosmopolitanism contends with the
heterogeneity of American populations and the conflicted
inclusiveness of the American democratic ideal. We will look at how
cosmopolitanism’s resistance to limitations of nationality, race,
religion or philosophy, and a spirit of openness and striving has
created stresses on the modern novel form and precipitated rich
transformations of our cultural notions of what a novel is and what
it can do. Authors include, John Edgar Wideman, Jamaica Kincaid,
Joseph O’Neill and Junot Diaz. We will examine literary techniques
and formal choices that facilitate these authors’ bold appropriation
and reinvention of the American novel. Before the start of the
semester, students should have already read Henry James’ short
story “Daisy Miller,” Gertrude Stein’s The Autobiography of Alice B.
Toklas, and Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast.