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Contemporary American Fiction

ENGL 274.301
instructor(s):
T 3-6
Benn 139
fulfills requirements:
Sector 1: Theory and Poetics of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major

The “thought experiments” of contemporary literature do not fit in neat boxes. Memoirs and biographies turn up as graphic novels, fiction parades as nonfiction, and the boundaries among high literature, science fiction, and pornography fade away. The revolutionary upheavals in gender and racial identity of our day seem to have inspired a corresponding fluidity in literary categories, with new hybrid “monsters” springing up daily. Using Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as a touchstone, this course will explore narratives by Vladimir Nabokov, Thomas Pynchon, Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood, Don DeLillo, Philip Roth, Christopher Bram, Alice Sebold, Art Spiegelman, Nicole Krauss, and Marjane Satrapi. Assignments: two papers (7-10 pages each) and a take-home final examination.