English | American Literature, 1960-Present
L359 | 26968 | Ed Comentale

Ed Comentale

26968 - 1:00p-2:15p TR (30 students) 3 cr., A&H.

Paranoia, obsession, hallucination Ė the literature of this period
will certainly not ease your post-millenial blues. At best, it will
make you suspicious of everyday life in late-capitalist America. At
worst, it will leave you raving madly about ghosts, aliens, and the
possibility of other worlds. Sound like fun? This course will
explore these extreme psychological states and the recent domestic
history of conspiracy and violence to which they correspond.
Throughout, we will juggle formal, historical, and political
concerns. First, we will use our texts to define key literary terms
such as postmodernism, pop, metaficton, irony, pastiche, magical
realism, science fiction, etc.  Secondly, we will consider how these
texts confront the larger trajectory of U.S history and the American
cultural imaginary, particularly as such seem driven by an expanding
marketplace and imperialist policies. Finally, we will consider this
literature as it reveals the difficulty of both expressing and
inhabiting the spaces of this country, and thus also as it signals
the need and/or the possibility of imagining other landscapes and
communities, some of which are not locatable in any worldly space at
This is a discussion-based course, so both attendance and
participation are mandatory. Students will be required to write
three research papers (5-6 pages each) and give one formal
presentation (incorporating a range of media). Texts: Richard Yates,
Revolutionary Road; Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49; Phillip K.
Dick, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch; Leslie Marmon Silko,
Ceremony; Toni Morrison, Beloved; Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping;
Dave Eggers, Zeitoun; Percival Everett, Godís Country; George
Saunders, In Persuasion Nation.