Module Identifier EN11120  
Academic Year 2006/2007  
Co-ordinator Dr Luke A Thurston  
Semester Semester 2  
Other staff Dr William G Slocombe, Dr Helena Grice, Professor Timothy S Woods, Mr John Phiilp Wrighton  
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 essays40%
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.60%
Supplementary Exam2 Hours resubmit any failed elements and/or make good missing elements  40%
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.60%

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module student should be able to demonstrate:

1. an analytical approach to the literary texts set for study and a critical attitude towards published scholarship on the subject of those texts;

2. an ability to analyse the forces at work in forming a literary canon and in calling it into question;

3. an ability to conduct elementary research and to develop writing skills through conducting different sorts of assignments;

4. an ability to develop small group work within seminars and to make individual and group presentations;

5. 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.



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 1: Immigrant Voices
Set Text: Willa Cather, O Pioneers!; at the tutor's discretion,"The Making of `Americans'" (provided)

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

Seminar 3: The New Negro Renaissance
Set Texts: from the Norton Anthology, Vol. D - Jean Toomer (D: 1636-1640); Langston Hughes (D: 1892-1901); Zora Neale Hurston (D: 1507-1527); Claude McKay (D: 1458-1462)

Seminar 4: The Great Depression
Set Text: Nathanael West, Miss Lonelyhearts

Seminar 5: Cold War Culture and its Discontents
Set Texts: from the Norton Anthology, Vol. E - Allen Ginsberg (E: 2865-2877); Robert Creeley (E: 2856-2863), Frank O'Hara (E: 2879-2887), Gary Snyder (E: 2348-2353)

Seminar 6: Emergent Feminist Voices
Set Texts: from the Norton Anthology, Vol. E - Anne Sexton (E: 2934-2941); Adrienne Rich (E: 2943-2956); Sylvia Plath (E: 2968-2979)

Seminar 7: Civil Rights in the 1960s
Set Texts: from the Norton Anthology, Vol. E - James Baldwin (E: 2191-2202); Gwendolyn Brooks (E: 2786); Amiri Baraka (E: 2301-2314); Martin Luther King (provided)

Seminar 8: Postmodern Fictions
Set Texts: from the Norton Anthology, Vol. E - Donald Barthelme (E: 2248-2251); Thomas Pynchon (E: 2357-2367); Kurt Vonnegut (E: 2183-2190); Ishmael Reed (E: 2384-2388); Gerald Vizenor (E: 2332-2337)

Seminar 9: New Communities, New Identities
Set Texts: from the Norton Anthology, Vol. E - Joy Harjo (E: 3054-3059); Leslie Marmon Silko (E: 2543-2550); Sandra Cisneros (E: 2556-2561); Alberto Rios (E: 3073-3078); Lorna Dee Cervantes (E: 3079-3084); Simon Ortiz (E: 3024-3029)

Seminar 10: Multicultural Voices
Set Text: Gish Jen, Typical American

Reading Lists

** Should Be Purchased
Baym, Nina et al (eds) (2003) The Norton Anthology of American Literature Sixth. Norton 0393977943
F. Scott Fitzgerald (1994) The Great Gatsby Penguin Popular Classics 0140620184
Gish Jen (1998) Typical American Granta 186207111X
Nathanael West (2000) Miss Lonelyhearts Penguin 014118468X
Willa Cather (1999) O Pioneers! Virago 0860683109


This module is at CQFW Level 4