This course provides a survey of American literature since 1900 with a focus on American literature in the world. We consider what happens when American writers (and characters) travel, how American writers use cultural and linguistic resources from around the world, as well as what America and characteristically American themes look like from the outside. Topics covered will include what is involved in processes of translation and cultural exchange; how race in America is understood across the world; how moments of political crisis or war can become occasions for international artistic collaboration; and the experience of being an immigrant and a tourist in America in Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita. Writers covered will include Edith Wharton, Claude McKay, Ezra Pound, James Baldwin, Elizabeth Bishop, and Azar Nafisi.
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.