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American Travelers

ENGL 286.601
instructor(s):
T 4:30-7:10

With its feet in guidebooks, journalism, and the tourist industry, and its head in the realm of autobiography and the novel, travel writing has always crossed the borders between fiction and non-fiction. This course will consider three archetypal journeys in American culture: going West, going abroad, and going home. After a look at earlier masters of the genre like Twain, James, Wharton, and Hemingway, we'll concentrate on the travel literature of contemporary writers like James Baldwin, Paul Bowles, John Updike, Philip Roth, Paul Theroux, and Mary Morris. Course work will include frequent short response papers, a mid-term essay of 4-5 pages, an original piece of travel writing, and a research paper of 8-10 pages. We'll focus on the relationship between journalism, non-fiction, and fiction, with attention to the role of travel in shaping American identity.