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

Spring 2008

E 314J • Literature and Popular Music

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34305 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM

Course Description

This course will examine several aspects of the interrelations between popular music and literature in the 20th century. The course will examine various literary texts with a specific emphasis on how music and musicality functions in each work. Another component of the course will be the converse and complimentary task of exploring popular music using the tools of literary study. The course will concern itself with a number of related questions/themes including: searching for an inherent musicality in various literary forms, the role of music and literature in socialization and identity formation, musical/literary cross-fertilization, and the divergent implications of studying music and literature as both combined and distinctly separate media.

Grading Policy

Students will be graded on the basis of reading quizzes, class participation, short reading response papers, a longer analytical paper, and a final paper with a research component.
Class Web forum participation 10%
Free-writing, journals 10%
Response essays 20%
Position Paper, reaction paper 50%
Summary, abstract, literature, review, prospectus 10%


The required reading for this course will be a diverse mix of read poetry, drama, and novels by Salinger, Beckett, Stevens, Cummings, Ginsberg, Kerouac, DeLillo, Wideman, Baldwin, and Ellison. Students will also read and examine several short theoretical texts/excerpts by important theorists and figures in the fields of literature and music including Adorno, Greil Marcus, Attali, Mailer, McLaren, and Hickey. And, of course, students will be required to listen to a number of recordings that coincide with each of the course texts.


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