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Modern American Literature

ENGL 064.601
T 6:30-9:30

Modern American literature starts with the fin-de-siecle works of authors like Henry James and Edith Wharton, then leaps into the twentieth century, animated by Ezra Pound's Modernist dictum: "Make it new!"  Penn is the perfect place to study modern American literature;  authors William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Marianne Moore, Jessie Fauset, H.D.  and WEB Du Bois all spent time on campus or nearby. Penn's archives house important  papers , in particular those of  novelist Theodore Dreiser and cinema pioneer Eadweard Muybridge.  Keeping these important Penn connections in mind, in this course we will study the intersection of the modern with Modernism, reading authors including William Faulkner, Gertrude Stein, Zora Neale Hurston and WEB Du Bois, as well as exploring early cinema through works by Muybridge, Griffith, and Chaplin.  Particular emphasis will be placed on connecting modernism with the Harlem renaissance and early motion pictures. Evaluation will include short papers, one research project, and a final exam.