Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials Seminar - 2 hours per week


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 5,000 word essay  Essay: 
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements. Where this involves re-submission of work, a new topic must be selected. 

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. demonstrate a knowledge of the issues associated with postmodernism in relation to contemporary American literature;

2. employ this specialist knowledge in an extended critical and analytical essay;

3. perform comparative critical analysis at an advanced level of research.


This module will focus on a selection of contemporary American fiction which develops and explores the concerns and characteristics which have been categorised as "postmodern". Issues that will be considered are the representation of the city, the "postmodern comedy", marginality, the function of language and representation, the element of fantasy, and the "engineering" of "postmodern fiction".

_1. Semiotic Cities

Thomas Pynchon, "The Crying of Lot 49" (1966)

_2. The Fate of Comedy

Kurt Vonnegut, "Slaughterhouse Five" (1969)
See also: the novels of John Irving and Richard Brautigan

_3. America's Vietnam

Bobbie Ann Mason, "In Country" (1987)
Tim O'Brien, "The Things They Carried" (1990)
See also: Stephen Wright, "Meditations in Green" (1985); Norman Mailer, "Why Are We In Vietnam" (1967);
Robert Stone, "Dog Soldiers" (1975); Tim O'Brien, "Going After Cacciato" (1978);

and the films "Apocalypse Now", "The Deer Hunter", "Full Metal Jacket", "Dog Soldiers", and "Tracks"

_4. Depletion and Regression: Language and Representation

Kathy Acker, "Eurydice in the Underworld" (1984)
See also: Paul Auster, "The New York Trilogy" (1987); Steve Erickson, "Rubicon Beach" (1986)

_5. Things Falling Apart

Don DeLillo, "Mao II" (1985)
See also: Richard Ford, "The Sportswriter" (1986); William Gaddis, "Carpenter's Gothic" (1986)

Reading List

Should Be Purchased
Bobbie Ann Mason In Country Vintage Primo search Don DeLillo Mao II Vintage Primo search Kathy Acker Eurydice in the Underworld Arcadia Primo search Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse-5 Vintage Primo search Thomas Pynchon The Crying of Lot 49 Vintage Primo search Tim O'Brien The Things They Carried Flamingo Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 7