English 158B - Spring, 2013

The American Novel from 1900 to the Present

Class Information

Instructor: Stratton, Matthew
CRN: 62585
Time: MWF 12:10-1:00
Location: 158 Olson

Description

    We will read 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 U.S.A., much of our work will focus on the formal characteristics of individual novels, thinking about how those characteristics both exemplify and complicate our understanding of canonical “schools” of American literature. By focusing our critical attention on representations of labor, locations, migrations, and identities (individual and collective), we will consider the historical and political situations in which the novels first appeared as well as how our own situation affects the work of interpretation. Throughout the readings, we will consider the broad question of what it might mean to be a specifically “American” novel.

Grading

    In-class responses . . . . . . . . . . . .10%
    Short essay (4-5 pgs) . . . . . . . . . . 15%
    Midterm exam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20%
    Longer essay (5-7 pgs). . . . . . . . . . 30%
    Final exam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25%

Texts

    O Pioneers!, Willa Cather
    Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Anita Loos
    The Day of the Locust, Nathanael West
    Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
    Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony
    Ishmael Reed, Flight to Canada
    Helena María Viramontes, Under the Feet of Jesus