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American Literature

ENGL 799.401
instructor(s):
F 9-12:00

This course is essentially an advanced survey of American modernist literature with a strong theoretical component. Our discussions will explore the following issues: the relationship between modernist form and key aspects of social modernity (e.g., the city, the assembly line, the automobile, and mechanized war); modernism and mass culture; modernism and consumerism; modernism, nationalism and ethnicity; modernism and money; and modernism, proletarian literature, and the politics of canon-making. Primary texts will include: Anderson, WINESBURG, OHIO; Hemingway, IN OUR TIME and THE SUN ALSO RISES; Cather, THE PROFESSOR'S HOUSE; Fitzgerald, THE GREAT GATSBY; Gold, JEWS WITHOUT MONEY; Faulkner, THE SOUND AND THE FURY; Nathanael West, COMPLETE WORKS; Kromer, WAITING FOR NOTHING; Dos Passos, THE BIG MONEY; McCarthy, THE COMPANY SHE KEEPS; and O'Connor, WISE BLOOD. Secondary readings will include Benn Michaels, OUR AMERICA; Klein, FOREIGNERS; Nelson, REPRESSION AND RECOVERY; as well as essays by theorists like Benjamin, Lukacs, Jameson, Sedgwick, et al. Some proletarian poetry and some films (I WAS A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAINGANG, MODERN TIMES) will also be part of the course.