Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Twentieth Century American Literature
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminar 11 x 2 Hour Seminars
Workshop 11 x 2 Hour Workshops


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 2 X 3000 WORD ESSAYS  100%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit or resit failed elements and/or make good any missing elements. Where this involves re-submission of work, a new topic must be selected.  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. demonstrate a broad knowledge of American literature in the 20th century and an understanding of the social and political contexts in which the set texts were written'

2. descripe issues of gender, class, and/or race in relation to ethnic and regional experiences of America during the period and examine their representation in the set texts;

3. engage in coherent oral discussion of the texts;

4. read literary texts in an informed and critical manner;

5. write about the subject in a well structured and argued manner.

Brief description

The main objective of this module is to provide a general introduction to the wide range and extraordinarily rich diversity of the literatures of the United States of America in the twentieth century. Particular attention will be paid to the way in which literary texts record and respond to the social, political, and economic crises of the two World Wars, the Great Depression, and the Cold War. Students will be encouraged to explore the different thematic preoccupations and formal strategies which develop from the various social and cultural experiences of Americans during the century. Questions of gender, class, ethnicity, and sexuality will be examined critically and contextually. Although the novel is given some priority as a genre, students will also study examples of short fiction, drama and poetry. Audio-visual materials will be introduced and discussed as appropriate, and students will have opportunities to hone their oral and written communication skills during workshop sessions.


Week 1 - Introduction to Twentieth-century American literature

Week 2 - Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

Week 3 - Zora Neale Huston, The Complete Stories

Week 4 - William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying

Week 5 - Arthur Miller, All My Sons

Week 6 - Sloan Wilson, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit

Week 7 - Adrienne Rich, Diving Into he Wreck

Week 8 - Don DeLillo, White Noise

Week 9 - Toni Morrison, Paradise

Week 10 - Looking Back: Revision session


This module introduces students to the diversity of twentieth-century American literature, in the novel, short stories, poetry, and drama. It combines close reading, contextual materials, and relevant critical theories in order to develop sophisticated and multi-layered inerpretations of the primary texts.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication * Written communication in the form of essays * Oral presentations in small groups * Oral communication in seminars
Improving own Learning and Performance * Developing own research skills * Time management
Information Technology * Use of electronic resources and e-learning technologies (electronic databases and Blackboard) * PowerPoint for group presentations * Production of written work using word-processing program
Personal Development and Career planning * Critical self-reflection * Development of transferable communication and research skills
Problem solving * Formulating and developing an argument
Research skills * Independent research for presentations * Independent research for assignments
Subject Specific Skills Ability to 'compare and contrast' between texts; Ability to comment on relationship between society and literary forms
Team work * Group work for oral presentations


This module is at CQFW Level 6