Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
American Literature 1819-1925
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 20 x 1 Hour Lectures
Seminar 10 x 1 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment One x 2000 word essay  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Pre-released paper, 48 hours before exam.  50%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit missing or failed 2000 word essay  Make good any missing assessment elements and/or resubmit failed coursework (writing on a fresh topic), and/or sit the supplementary examination paper  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Pre-Release Paper 48hrs before exam date  Resit failed or misssed examination paper  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module, students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate critical and interpretative skills appropriate to Level 1 and deploy an appropriate critical vocabulary

2. Demonstrate an analytical approach to issue of form, genre and language in American literature

3. Demonstrate an ability to relate literary texts to appropriate historical and cultural contexts

Brief description

This module surveys American literature and culture from founding narratives which sought to define the new Republic, and through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, examining the construction of a specifically American identity in relation to the social and cultural changes which have characterised American experiences in this period. The first half of the course explores the historical development of America via myths and legends, the search for independent and autonomous selfhood and the importance of motifs of freedom, space and wilderness; and issues of race, gender and politics. The second half of the module then explores the changing shape of American selfhood in the twentieth century, the ethnicizing of America, the advent of consumerism and the emergence of women's voices as politically significant.


Lectures and Seminars:

Week 1:
Lecture Introduction to American Literature.
Lecture Founding Narratives: Washington Irving, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", or "Rip Van Winkle"
Seminar Introduction

Week 2
Lecture Nathaniel Hawthorne Part 1
Lecture Nathaniel Hawthorne Part 2
Seminar Founding narratives

Week 3: Poetry and democracy:
Lecture Whitman, Leaves of Grass Part 1
Lecture Whitman, Leaves of Grass Part 2
Seminar Poetry and democracy

Week 4
Lecture The Literature of Slavery
Lecture Dissident voices: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Part 1
Seminar The South/Slavery/Dissident voices

Week 5
Lecture The South in American Literature
Lecture The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Part 2
Seminar The South/Slavery/Dissident voices

Week 6: Women's Voices
Lecture Charlotte Perkins Gilman, "The Yellow Wallpaper" Part 1
Lecture Charlotte Perkins Gilman, "The Yellow Wallpaper" Part 2
Seminar Women's Voices

Week 7:
Lecture Kate Chopin, "The Story of an Hour"
Lecture Kate Chopin "The Story of an Hour" other stories
Seminar Women's Voices

Week 8:
Lecture Rights and Causes in late 19th / early 20th Century
Lecture Willa Cather, My Antonia Part 1
Seminar Immigrant Experiences

Week 9:
Lecture My Antonia Part 2
Lecture The American Dream: Fitzgerald, "The Great Gatsby" Part 1
Seminar Immigrant Experiences

Week 10:
Lecture Fitzgerald, "The Great Gatsby" Part 2
Lecture Concluding lecture & exam advice
Seminar The American Dream

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number n/a
Communication (written) By developing a sustained critical argument. (oral) Through group discussions and seminar presentations.
Improving own Learning and Performance Through independent research and reading.
Information Technology By using word-processing packages and making use of Blackboard and other e-resources to research and access course documents andn other materials.
Personal Development and Career planning Through increased critical self-reflection and the development of transferable, ICT, communication and research skills.
Problem solving By evaluative analysis and critical skills.
Research skills By independent research and synthesizing information in an evaluative argument.
Subject Specific Skills Textual analysis of a range of American literature. Development of contextual understanding of American literature and culture from the colonial period to the present day. Continuing development of reading and writing skills taught in Part One
Team work Through group work and presentations in seminars.


This module is at CQFW Level 4