English 158B - Fall, 2015

The American Novel from 1900 to the present

Class Information

Instructor: Stratton, Matthew
CRN: 73367
Time: MWF 10:00-10:50
Location: 118 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., the course will read a wide variety of novels to think about how those novels relate to each other, and how they might both exemplify and complicate our understanding of American literature. By focusing our attention on points of contact between literary and political representation, we will consider the context 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 contested question of what it might mean to be a specifically "American" novel, and what that form might have to do with problems of memory, history, identity, and democracy.

Grading

    In-class responses . . . . . . . . . . . .15%
    Short essay (4-5 pgs) . . . . . . . . . . 25%
    Longer essay (5-7 pgs). . . . . . . . . . 35%
    Final exam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25%

Texts

    Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Anita Loos
    Under the Feet of Jesus, Helena Maria Viramontes
    Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
    O Pioneers!, Willa Cather
    The Flamethrowers, Rachel Kushner
    The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon
    Maus I, Art Spiegelman