E 377K • The American Novel after 1920
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
This course will study twentieth-century U.S. novels as both literary artifacts and representative social texts. How novelists choose to tell their fictional stories reveals much about the cultural/historical moment in which they were produced; how we read these stories reveals much about our own. We will read and discuss nine novels in detail, and also examine the relevant social, historical, biographical, and other material contexts that produced them and through which we read them. If possible we will also view and discuss the translations of the novels into films.
Grades will be based primarily on two in-class essays, reading journals, and a final exam. Each student will also introduce one day's reading in order to initiate and help guide the discussion. Attendance and active participation in class are required and will make the difference for borderline grades, so do not enroll if you wish to sit passively and take notes while someone lectures at you.
Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio, 1919
Wharton, The Age of Innocence, 1920
Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, 1925
Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises, 1926
Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury, 1929
Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God, 1937
Malamud, The Assistant, 1957
Walker, The Color Purple, 1982
Morrison, Beloved, 1987