This course presents a survey of American novels in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It will cover a variety of styles and subgenres of the novel—including the modernist and postmodernist novel, the bildungsroman, the passing novel, and the short story cycle. It covers texts that consider the explosive changes in American society during these years—including the “nationalization” of American life and the rapid growth of American cities; African American life and identity in the Jim Crow Era; the nature of American regionality in the twentieth century; the experience of World War; and America’s role as a military and economic superpower. A discussion-based classroom and a range of assignments will facilitate our encounters with a wide-ranging and exciting set of texts.
Arts & Letters (A&L) courses create meaningful opportunities for students to engage actively in the modes of inquiry that define a discipline. Courses are broad in scope and demonstrably liberal in nature (that is, courses that promote open inquiry from a variety of perspectives). Though some courses may focus on specialized subjects or approaches, there will be a substantial course content locating that subject in the broader context of the major issues of the discipline. Qualifying courses will not focus on teaching basic skills but will require the application or engagement of those skills through analysis and interpretation.
Literature, 1789 to the present courses focus on literary work produced over more than two centuries -- from the period of British romanticism and the early republic of the United States up to now -- in order to foster familiarity with key works in British and American literary history. Literary history illustrates how literary works reflect, address, and resist the social and political environments in which they are produced as well as other works that have preceded them.
English Minor courses offer students centuries of cultural experience and representation in poetry, prose, drama, film, TV, new media, and folk artifacts. The English minor can focus and extend the values of a liberal arts education, while also providing extensive training in writing, speaking, and critical thinking.