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

Spring 2010

E 338 • American Lit from 1865-present-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34780 MWF
10:00 AM-11:00 AM
PAR 302

Course Description

Using F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic The Great Gatsby (1925) and Joseph O’Neill’s critically acclaimed Netherland (2008) as historical bookends, this course will explore post-Civil War American literature through the concept of the "American Dream." Our central concern will be that of how national perceptions of individual success and collective belonging have changed from the late nineteenth century to the twenty-first. Are there limits—social, economic, and otherwise—to the self-fashioning that is central to this dream? How did the suburbanization of the 1950s and 1960s alter U.S. notions of the ideal life? Finally, how have immigration and globalization reshaped not only what is means to “arrive,” but also what it means to be “American”? Indeed, can one still speak of such a nationally specific concept in our post-9/11, “borderless” world?

Grading Policy

Two short papers (4 pages each) 40% Final exam 25% Reading responses/quizzes 20% Rough draft of first paper (4 pages) 15%


The reading list may include the following texts but is subject to change: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (1925), Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun (1959), Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street (1984), Gish Jen, Mona in the Promised Land (1996), Joseph O'Neill, Netherland (2008)


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