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Topics in American Literature

ENGL 286.401
instructor(s):
TR 1:30-3

This course will focus on American fiction and non-fiction from two periods--the early 20th century and the post-1960's, both eras of "new" journalism. We'll consider how journalistic and literary writing affected each other. From the first period, we'll look especially at Stephen Crane, Ernest Hemingway, Theodore Dreiser, John Dos Passos, and H.L. Mencken. From the second period, we'll read Tom Wolfe, Norman Mailer, Joan Didion, John McPhee, and Michael Herr. Among the questions we'll address: How did newspaper writing influence literary style? How did journalism affect literary categories like realism, naturalism, modernism, or post-modernism? How did the conventions of fiction influence the writing of non-fiction? What is the image of the journalist in literature? How do journalistic traditions shape literature of social criticism? What distinguishes literature from journalism? Frequent short papers in addition to mid-term and final essays of 6-8 pages.