In this course we will read a wide-range of American fiction and poetry written during the first half of the 20th century. These novels and poems will be considered not only as literary art but also as products of an historical period marked by social and political events such as World Wars I and II, the rise of the automobile, Hollywood and the Great Depression. Our readings of several formally experimental texts will prompt special attention to the concept of "modernism," but this notion will also be explored in conjunction with our study of some popular literature of the period and with works associated with the Harlem Renaissance. Authors and poets we are likely to read include: Sherwood Anderson, Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, Zora Neale Hurston, Marianne Moore, William Faulkner, Nathanael West, Ezra Pound, Langston Hughes, Ernest Hemingway and Richard Wright. Requirements will include two papers of moderate length and an in-class presentation. Students will also be required to attend one or two film screenings.