E304 15834 LITERATURES IN ENGLISH 1900-PRESENT
10:10a-11:00a MWF (30 students) 3 cr., A&H.
The first main objective of this course is to provide a basic understanding of the literary trajectory of the century: the main movements, trends, and innovations in fiction, poetry, and drama written in English since 1900. The second main objective is to test the limits of that trajectory of literary history, and see where it does and doesn’t break down.
To accomplish the first objective: We will cover eras and movements such as high, low, and American Modernism; the Harlem Renaissance; post-WWII movements such as the Beats and feminist poetry; and the recent explosion of narrative subjectivities, which many would term postmodern and/or postcolonial.
As for the second objective: It’s impossible to squeeze over a century into a semester-long course, so we will first acknowledge the ways that a time-restricted syllabus that focuses almost entirely on English and North American works (as does this one) will seriously skew any attempts at a comprehensive understanding of “literatures in English” in this period. Second, since we will be analyzing these works from the vantage of the twenty-first century, it’s our job to test, question, and redefine fast-solidifying classifications of the previous century, which might threaten to restrict future interpretations of this era.
To pass this course you will need to write two successful papers (one 4-5 pages, one 7-8 pages, 20% each); develop a presentation by yourself or with a partner (15%); and pass a midterm (15%) and a final (20%). Your participation grade (10%) will be based on attendance, discussion, possible quizzes, and other homework.
Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness (1899) Bedford/St. Martin’s 2nd critical edition
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (1925)
Nella Larsen, Passing (1929)
William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (1930)
Sherman Alexie, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (1994)
Tony Kushner, Angels in America, Parts I and II (1995)
Caryl Churchill, Cloud Nine (1995)
Zadie Smith, White Teeth (2001)
Diana Hacker, Pocket Style Manual (Bedford/St. Martin’s) or a similarly comprehensive style book
*plus hard copies of any electronic readings, including critical essays and a xeroxed collection of poetry