Module Identifier EN33320  
Academic Year 2006/2007  
Co-ordinator Dr William G Slocombe  
Semester Intended for use in future years  
Next year offered N/A  
Next semester offered N/A  
Course delivery Seminars / Tutorials   10 x 2 hour seminars  
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. Where this involves re-submission of work, a new topic must be selected. 

Learning outcomes

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

1. demonstrate a broad knowledge of the diversity of literatures of the USA in the 20th century;

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

3. demonstrate an understanding of the social and political contexts in which the set texts were written;

4. describe the differing themes and formal strategies which develop from the ethnic and regional experiences of America during the 20th century;

5. explain issues of gender and class in relation to the themes and forms of the set texts;

6. engage in coherent oral discussion of the texts;

7. 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 and poetry are also represented in the selection of required reading.


1. 'Women in their Places'
Reading: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Herland

2. 'The Decline of the West' I
Reading: Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

3. 'The Haunted South'
Reading: William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying

4. 'The Decline of the West' II
Reading: F.Scott Fitzgerald, Diamond as Big as the Ritz

5. 'Brave New World' I
Reading: Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire

6. 'Brave New World' II
Reading: Arthur Miller, All My Sons

7. 'Destroyed By Madness?'
Reading: Allen Ginsberg, Howl

8. 'Persecuted by Paranoia'
Reading: Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49

9. 'Liberating Laughter'
Reading: Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse 5

10. 'Hyphenated Americans'
Reading: Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior

Reading Lists

** Should Be Purchased
Allen Ginsberg (1967) Howl City Lights Press 0872860175
Arthur Miller (1988) Plays One Methuen 0413158101
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (2001) Herland The Women's Press 0704347008
Ernest Hemingway (1994) A Farewell to Arms Arrow 0099910101
F Scott Fitzgerald (1996) A Diamond as Big as the Ritz and other stories Penguin 0140622381
Kurt Vonnegut (1991) Slaughterhouse 5 Vintage 0099800209
Maxine Hong Kingston (1981) The Woman Warrior Picador 0330264001
Tennessee Williams (2000) A Streetcar Named Desire and Other Plays Penguin 0141182563
Thomas Pynchon (1996) The Crying of Lot 49 Vintage 0099532611
William Faulkner (1996) As I Lay Dying Vintage 0099479311


This module is at CQFW Level 6