E 338 • American Literature from 1865 to the Present
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
This course critically surveys a great many and varied examples of the literature written by Americans from ca. The Civil War (1861-65) to the more or less present. Our survey will take us through and illustrate the literary periods conventionally known as Realism, Naturalism, Modernism and Post-Modernism as these are correlated with also conventional periods of U.S. political and economic history such as the Post-Bellum, Industrialization, the Progressive Period, etc. However, it is a central premise of this course that both the literature and its historical context occur in transformative dialogue with earlier American, but also European cultural influences - political, economic and literary. Therefore, the course will begin with a brief but intense backward look at these earlier cultural formations before we fully enter into those periods that will chiefly concern us. While history in its varied forms will be consistently with us, it is to the literary works as distinctive artistic cultural phenomena that we will closely attend. Among such writers we will read Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Henry James, Stephen Crane, Theodore Dreiser, John Dos Passos, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, Allen Ginsberg, John Updike, Bobbie Ann Mason, Ann Beattie, Sandra Cisneros and Cormac McCarthy.
Three short take-home, word-processed essay exams 20% each
One final, take-home, word-processed essay exam 40%
Course Reader for E 338 (to be purchased at Jenn's Copies)
Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn
Cormac McCarthy, The Road