Module Identifier EN33320  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Dr Matthew R Jarvis  
Semester Semester 2  
Course delivery Lecture   10 Hours  
  Seminars / Tutorials   10 Hours Seminar.  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Continuous Assessment: 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 a broad knowledge of the diversity of literatures of the USA in the 20th century
- Read literary texts in an informed and critical manner
- Demonstrate an understanding of the social and political contexts in which the set texts were written
- Describe the differing themes and formal strategies which develop from the ethnic an regional experiences of American during the 20th century
- Explain issues of gender and class in relation to the themes and forms of the set texts
- Engage in coherent oral discussion of the texts
- 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. Emphasis will also be placed on the differing themes and formal strategies which develop from the various ethnic and regional experiences of Americans during the century, and issues of gender and class in relation to theme and form will be systematically examined. Although the novel is given some priority as a genre, an attempt has been made to keep a balance, so that drama, poetry, and the short story are also represented in the selection of required reading. The lectures will deal in detail with the required texts but will also make reference to some of the further reading, and will address issues as well as individual works and authors. There will be a lecture and a seminar each week.


1. 'Women in their Places':
Required Reading: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Herland (Women's Press);
Further Reading: Kate Chopin, The Awakening; Willa Cather, O Pioneers.

2. 'The Decline of the West' I:
Required Reading: Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms (Penguin);
Further Reading: Ernest Hemingway, The Essential Hemingway.

3. 'The Haunted South':
Required Reading: William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (Penguin);
Further Reading: Carson McCullers, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe; Eudora Welty, Collected Stories.

4. 'The Decline of the West' II:
Required Reading: F.Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (Penguin);
Further Reading: Nathanael West, The Day of the Locust.

5. 'Brave New World' I:
Required Reading: Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire (Penguin);
Further Reading: Tennessee Williams, A Glass Menagerie; Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky.

6. 'Brave New World' II:
Required Reading: Arthur Miller, All My Sons (in Collected Plays, vol.1, Methuen);
Further Reading: Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman.

7. 'Destroyed By Madness?':
Required Reading: Allen Ginsberg, Howl (City Lights Press)
Further Reading: The Penguin Book of the Beats, Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath, Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar.

8. 'Persecuted by Paranoia':
Required Reading: Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49
Further Reading: Don DeLillo, White Noise.

9. 'Liberating Laughter':
Required Reading: Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse 5 (Vintage);
Further Reading: Richard Brautigan, The Hawkline Monster; John Irving, Prayer for Owen Meany.

10. 'Hyphenated Americans':
Required Reading: Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior;
Further Reading: Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club (Minerva); Louise Erdrich, Tracks; Alice Walker, The Color Purple.


This module is at CQFW Level 6