Module Identifier EN11120  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Dr Helena Grice  
Semester Semester 2  
Other staff Mr Clive Meachen, Mrs Carol M Marshall, Dr Matthew R Jarvis  
Course delivery Lecture   5 fortnightly one hour lectures  
  Seminars / Tutorials   Weekly 1.5 hour seminars/workshops  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours Two essays on two seminar topics NOT already examined in the essays34%
Semester Assessment 2 x 2000 word essays. One essay will ask for literary analysis based on one set of the seminar texts. The other will require students to investigate a particular topic, theme or issue in relation to the literature on the module.66%
Supplementary Exam2 Hours resubmit any failed elements and/or make good missing elements  34%

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module student should be able to demonstrate:
- an analytical approach to the literary texts set for study and a critical attitude towards published scholarship on the subject of those texts
- an ability to analyse the forces at work in forming a literary canon and in calling it into question
- an ability to conduct elementary research and to develop writing skills through conducting different sorts of assignments
- an ability to develop small group work within seminars and to make individual and group presentations
- an ability to employ rhetorical skills of effective communication in written essays and in oral discussion

Brief description

This module introduces students to a range of twentieth century American literature, from the writings of late nineteenth-century immigrants to the multicultural voices of the late twentieth century. It focuses on the differences between the myths and realities of American experience and investigates the relationship between literature and society. Attention is paid to both genre and to the issues that have preoccupied many American writers. For students taking American Studies, it will develop the skills and knowledge required for the interdisciplinary study of American culture at Part II.



10 x 1.5 hour workshops will be accompanied by 5 x 1 hour lectures, which will be delivered once per fortnight. The purpose of these lectures will be to raise issues of a more general nature concerning the American literature of the twentieth century, and to guide students into thinking about co-texts and contexts, and to provide aid to students on methods and sources for their seminar research.

Lecture 1. The New Urban America

Lecture 2. The Impact and Aftermath of the Great Depression

Lecture 3. Suppression and Subversion

Lecture 4. Postmodernity in America

Lecture 5. American Multiculturalism

Seminar Timetable and Set Texts

1. Immigrant Voices: Willa Cather, O Pioneers!

2. The Jazz Age: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

3. The New Negro Renaissance: A selection from Jean Toomer, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, and Zora Neale Hurston (all from Heath Anthology)

4. The Great Depression: Nathanael West, Miss Lonelyhearts

5. Cold War Culture and its Discontents: poetry by Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, poems; Gary Snyder, poems (all from Heath Anthology)

6. Emergent Feminist Voices: Tillie Olsen, 'Tell Me a Riddle'; poetry by Adrienne Rich: poetry by Sylvia Plath, (all from Heath Anthology)

7. Civil Rights in the 1960s: Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun, Martin Luther King, Jr., I have a Dream and poetry by Amiri Baraka (all from Heath Anthology)

8. Postmodern Fictions: John Barth, 'Lost in the Funhouse', and Thomas Pynchon, 'Entropy (both from Heath Anthology)

9. Multicultural Voices: Gish Jen, Typical American

10. New Communities, New Identities: poetry by Joy Harjo, Wendy Rose, Gary Soto, and Simon Ortiz (all from Heath Anthology)


This module is at CQFW Level 4