Module Identifier ENM3120  
Academic Year 2007/2008  
Co-ordinator Professor Timothy S Woods  
Semester Intended for use in future years  
Next year offered N/A  
Next semester offered N/A  
Other staff Professor Timothy S Woods  
Course delivery Seminars / Tutorials   Seminar - 2 hours per week  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Essay: 1 x 5,000 word essay100%
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.100%

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. demonstrate a knowledge of the issues associated with postmodernism in relation to contemporary American literature;

2. employ this specialist knowledge in an extended critical and analytical essay;

3. perform comparative critical analysis at an advanced level of research.


This module will focus on a selection of contemporary American fiction which develops and explores the concerns and characteristics which have been categorised as "postmodern". Issues that will be considered are the representation of the city, the "postmodern comedy", marginality, the function of language and representation, the element of fantasy, and the "engineering" of "postmodern fiction".

1. Semiotic Cities   

Thomas Pynchon, "The Crying of Lot 49" (1966)

2. The Fate of Comedy

Kurt Vonnegut, "Slaughterhouse Five" (1969)   
See also: the novels of John Irving and Richard Brautigan

3. America's Vietnam

Bobbie Ann Mason, "In Country" (1987)
Tim O'Brien, "The Things They Carried" (1990)
See also: Stephen Wright, "Meditations in Green" (1985); Norman Mailer, "Why Are We In Vietnam" (1967);
Robert Stone, "Dog Soldiers" (1975); Tim O'Brien, "Going After Cacciato" (1978);

and the films "Apocalypse Now", "The Deer Hunter", "Full Metal Jacket", "Dog Soldiers", and "Tracks"

4. Depletion and Regression: Language and Representation

Kathy Acker, "Eurydice in the Underworld" (1984)
See also: Paul Auster, "The New York Trilogy" (1987); Steve Erickson, "Rubicon Beach" (1986)

5. Things Falling Apart

Don DeLillo, "Mao II" (1985)
See also: Richard Ford, "The Sportswriter" (1986); William Gaddis, "Carpenter's Gothic" (1986)

Reading Lists

** Should Be Purchased
Bobbie Ann Mason In Country Vintage 0099593610
Don DeLillo Mao II Vintage 0099915006
Kathy Acker Eurydice in the Underworld Arcadia 0900850087
Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse-5 Vintage 0099458438
Thomas Pynchon The Crying of Lot 49 Vintage 0099532611
Tim O'Brien The Things They Carried Flamingo 0006543944


This module is at CQFW Level 7