Critic Frederic Jameson has described genres as contracts between writers and audiences that guarantee the transmission of meaning. In this course we will examine the various ways in which various historical pressures of the 20th century--for example, urbanization, Fordism, immigration, decolonization, and globalism--exert pressure on this contract. Throughout the course we will trace the relationships between "realism" and "modernism" in the twentieth century novel, paying close attention to its attempts to reflect and refract inner and outer forms of social reality. Writers may include Kafka, Woolf, Joyce, Faulkner, Wright, W.G. Sebald, E.L. Doctorow, Toni Cade Bambara, and Rushdie. Students are expected to read and participate enthusiastically, write one short and one long essay, and take a final exam.