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

Summer 2004

E f316K • Masterworks of Literature: American

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
83610 MTWThF
8:30 AM-10:00 AM
PAR 303

Course Description

But what do we mean by "American?" I intentionally leave the first part silent (signaled by "but"), precisely because throughout U.S. literary history, attempts to define American literature have encountered immediately this retort. Yet, lest we resign ourselves to cognitive confusion at the outset, we might also take such a response as an opportunity: to uncover the multiple communities of readers and writers who, in claiming a stake in "America" (or disavowing it, as the case may be), offer us nothing less than a human drama that spans centuries and whose contestations we continue to engage in the twenty-first century. Reading for both form and content, literature and history, triumph and terror, and everything in-between, this course episodically traces the unfolding story that always begins and ends with the question, "but what do we mean by American?"

Grading Policy

Attendance/Class participation 20%
Journal 15%
Quizzes 5%
Midterm examination 25%
Final take-home examination 35%


Lauter, ed., The Heath Anthology of American Literature (Concise Edition)
Lahiri, The Namesake


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