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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Fall 2006

E 395M • MODERNIST AMERICAN FICTION

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
35790 MW
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
CAL 323
HILFER

Course Description

This course will deal with the golden age of the American fiction, one that radically changed the language, subject matter, and moral perspective of American fiction so that what was written before this period, however classic, seems as if written in a foreign language about another galaxy. These writings are Stein's Three Lives (perhaps just the great middle story, "Melanctha"); Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby; Dos Passos, Manhattan Transfer; Faulkner, Light in August; short stories by Hemingway, Katherine Anne Porter and Eudora Welty; and Wright's Native Son. These writings veer from some of the conventions of realism in order to reach a greater phenomenological and symbolic reality. They elaborate a colloquial language that veers sometimes toward naturalism, sometimes toward surrealism and sometimes toward postmodernism. Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Dos Passos and Welty show the major impact of popular culture, sometimes empathetically as when Welty riffs on Fats Waller in "Powerhouse," sometimes as indictment as in The Great Gatsby and Manhattan Transfer which could be glossed by Adorno and Horkheimer's analysis of the culture industry as well as Baudrillard on simulacra. Indeed the characters in both novels are presented as striving toward the state of simulacra. And Porter's "Flowering Judas" may be the most devastating American story about politics ever.

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