Module Identifier EN33220  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Dr Helena Grice  
Semester Semester 1  
Course delivery Lecture   10 Hours  
  Seminars / Tutorials   10 Hours Seminar.  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Essay: 2 essays (2,500 words each)100%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit any failed elements and/or make good any missing elements. 

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module, students will be able to:

- Demonstrate knowledge of a range of African American Literature
- Identify genres within the scope of African American Literature with a particular emphasis on women'r fiction and black drama
- Describe the development of the novel from 19th century slave-narratives
- Articulate the impact on African American Fiction and drama of the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s
- Read literary texts in an informed and critical manner
- Engage in coherent oral discussion of the texts and their contexts
- Write about the subject in a well-structured and argued manner with reference to cultural and historical context

Brief description

The main goals of this module are to offer students a general introduction to the broad range of African-American Literature, and to place emphasis on particular genres within it, such as the recently celebrated women's fiction and the often neglected black drama. The module has to be very selective and to work within the constraints of what is in print and realistically priced, but I have designed it to focus on particular issues, such as the development of the novel from nineteenth-century slave-narratives, and the impact on African American fiction and drama of the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.


1. Introduction: Slave narratives; lyrics of early blues and spirituals.
Required reading: Helena Grice et al, Beginning Ethnic American Literatures (Manchester UP, 2001), chapters 1+2; Frederick Douglass, The Narrative of An American Slave, 1845 (Penguin)
Optional further reading: Paul Oliver, The Story of the Blues; Screening the Blues; James Weldon Johnson, The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man, 1912. Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, in Heath Anthology of American Literature Vol. 1

2. Black Women's Fiction I:
Required reading: Zora Neale Hurston Their Eyes Were Watching God, 1939 (Virago)
Optional further reading: Hurston, Jonah's Gourd Vine, 1934, Dust Tracks on A Road, 1942, Mules and Men, 1935;
Video: African America in The Great Depression

3. From Autobiography to Allegory and Satire I:
Required reading: Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man, 1952 (Penguin)
Optional further reading: Going to the Territory, 1984

4. From Autobiography to Allegory and Satire II:
Required reading: Invisible Man contd.;
Optional further reading: Ellison, Shadow and Act (essays), 1967; Richard Wright, Native Son, 1940; Black Boy and American Hunger 1944

5. Black Drama I:
Required reading: James Baldwin, The Amen Corner 1955, 1965 (Penguin)
Optional further reading: Baldwin, Go Tell It On The Mountain, 1954; Blues for Mister Charlie, 1964; The Fire Next Time, 1963

6. Black Drama II:
Required reading: Leroi Jones, Dutchman, 1964 (Morrow Quill); August Wilson, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, 1984 (Penguin)
Optional further reading: Alice Childress, Wine in the Wilderness, 1968; Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun, 1959; Eldridge Cleaver, Soul on Ice, 1969; August Wilson, Fences, 1985; Joe Turner's Come and Gone, 1987; The Piano Lesson, 1990; Two Trains Running, 1992
Suggested Viewing: Spike Lee (Dir.) Do The Right Thing; Malcolm X

7. Black Women's Fiction II:
Required reading: Alice Walker, Meridian, 1976 (Women's Press)
Optional further reading and viewing: Walker, Living by the Word, 1988; Paule Marshall, Praise-Song for the Widow, 1983; Anniversary broadcasts for Martin Luther King; The Words of Martin Luther King, 1983; selected chapters from The Autobiography of Malcolm X, 1965

8. Black Women's Fiction III:
Required reading: Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon, 1977 (Picador)
Optional further reading: Toni Morrison, Beloved, 1987; Jazz, 1992 (there are also video and audio resources available)

9. Black Women's Fiction IV:
Required reading: Gloria Naylor, The Women of Brewster Place, 1982 (Minerva)
Optional further reading: Gloria Naylor, Linden Hills 1985 (Minerva); Thulani Davies, 1959: A Novel, 1992

10. Black Women's Fiction V:
Required Reading: Terry McMillan, Waiting to Exhale, 1995 (Black Swan) [+ film showing]


This module is at CQFW Level 6