Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

The Twentieth Century

ENGL 104.900
T 6:30-9:10

This introductory survey of twentieth-century American and
British literature asks the question:  "Why keep writing, in a
time of new and seemingly more effective media of communication
and expression?"  Indeed, what can literature offer that radio,
motion pictures, recorded music, telephones, comic books,
photography, television, and the Internet cannot?  We'll look at
how major authors have responded to this flood of competing
forms, and concentrate on the new ways twentieth-century writers
use written language in order to make literature as compelling as
the movies, as personal as the telephone, as urgent as the news.

This course will include works by Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf,
T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Richard
Wright, Robert Frost, Nathanael West, Langston Hughes, Allen
Ginsberg, Anthony Burgess, Thomas Pynchon, and Toni Morrison.
We'll end the class by thinking about what literature may look
like in the twenty-FIRST century.

Note:  This course fulfills the Arts and Letters "General
Requirement."  Grades will be based on some combination of short
quizzes, short informal writing, longer formal papers, and a
final exam.  Students will select a primary focus for their
grades that reflects their individual academic goals for
taking this class.

fulfills requirements