lonely figure who can be filled with the dreams and expectations of the self-made American. This figure at the margins stands paradoxically at the center of works of literature that try to describe an American essence; these lone riders have become a symbol for what is, writ large, American exceptionalism. We will begin with Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and its paradigmatic incarnation of the American outsider set against a nativist vision of America. Our readings will track this figure into changing historical and cultural circumstances. We will read novels and short stories by William Faulkner, Willa Cather, Gertrude Stein, Nella Larsen, James Weldon Johnson, John Okada, and Leslie Marmon Silko; and we will watch some films as well, including Rebel Without a Cause and Taxi Driver.