158B - The American Novel from 1900 to the Present
In this course, we will survey a variety of novels written in the United States during the twentieth century. Starting with a functional definition of "the novel" as a genre that predates the United States, much of our work will focus on the formal characteristics of each individual novel, thinking about how those characteristics both exemplify and diverge from canonical "schools" of American fiction. By focusing on locations, migrations, and the broad question of what it means to be an "American" writing an "American novel," we will consider how different kinds of novels relate to the wide range of historical and political situations in which they appeared -- including our own.
GradingTwo 5-7 page papers, midterm, comprehensive final exam, weekly quizzes.
TextsInvisible Man, Ralph Ellison
Flight to Canada, Ishmael Reed
Passing, Nella Larsen
O Pioneers!, Willa Cather
Ceremony, Leslie Marmon Silko
Under the Feet of Jesus, Helena Maria Viramontes
Day of the Locust, Nathanael West