Module Identifier EN39330  
Academic Year 2007/2008  
Co-ordinator Katharine E Wright  
Semester Semester 1  
Other staff Mr Michael J Smith  
Course delivery Seminars / Tutorials    
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment 2 X 3000 WORD ESSAYS  100%
Supplementary Assessment Make good missing elements or resubmit failed elements. Where resubmission is required, a new topic must be selected.100%

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should 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 and regional experiences of America 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.


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: Arthur Miller, All My Sons

6. 'Brave New World' II
Reading: Sloan Wilson, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit

-7. 'Persecuted by Paranoia'
Reading: Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49

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

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

-10. 'Consumer Fiction'
Reading: Jay McInerney, Bright Lights, Big City

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.

Reading Lists

** Should Be Purchased
Faulkner, William (1996.) As I lay dying Vintage 0099479311
Fitzgerald, F. Scott (1996, c1963.) The diamond as big as the Ritz and other stories /F. Scott Fitzgerald. Penguin 0140622381PBK
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins (2001.) Herland /Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Women's 0704347008PBK
Hemingway, Ernest (2004) A Farewell to Arms Arrow Books 0099910101
Kingston, Maxine Hong (1981.) The woman warrior :memoirs of a girlhood among ghosts /Maxine Hong Kingston. Pan 0330264001
McInerney, Jay. (1994.) Bright lights, big city. Penguin 0140232761
Miller, Arthur (1988, c1958 (va) Plays /Arthur Miller; introduction by Arthur Miller. Methuen Drama 0413158101
Pynchon, Thomas (1967.) The crying of Lot 49 /by Thomas Pynchon. Cape
Vonnegut, Kurt (1991) Slaughter House-Five Vintage 0099800209
Wilson, Sloan (2005) The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit Penguin 0014118826
** Recommended Background
Donaldson, Scott, ed. (1990.) New Essays on A Farewell to Arms Cambridge University Press 0521387329
Ludwig, Sami (1996.) Concrete language :Intercultural Communication in Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior and Ishmael Reed's Mumbo Jumbo P. Lang 082042966X
O'Donnell, Patrick, ed. (1991) New Essays on The Crying of Lot 49 Cambridge University Press 0521388333
Wong, Sau-ling Cynthia, ed. (1999) Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior: A Casebook Oxford University Press 0195116550


This module is at CQFW Level 6