This introductory survey of twentieth-century American and British literature will be structured around the question "Where is literature going?" We'll work back and forth in time; we'll start with our common assumptions about literature's role in today's society, and use them as keys for understanding the innovations of modernist literature in the first half of the century. Then we'll move toward the present again, exploring the development of "postmodern" literature after WWII. This course will include works by Robert Frost, Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Nathanael West, Ralph Ellison, Allen Ginsberg, Thomas Pynchon, and others. We'll end the class by thinking about what literature may look like in the twenty-FIRST century.
Note: This course fulfills the "General Requirement" for Arts and Letters. Grades will be based on a combination of short quizzes, short informal writing, longer formal papers, and a final exam.