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Topics in 20th Century Lit: the Road

ENGL 261.900
M 6-9:10

The road is a powerful and persistent motif in American literature, from Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road” to Tarantino’s Kill Bill, which takes on new meanings according to shifting cultural concerns. This course will examine the American road narrative in relation to key historical moments and contexts — such as westward expansion, the Great Depression, and civil rights —to explore changing conceptions of expansion, mobility, and freedom in American cultural history. Readings will likely include selections from Whitman, Twain, Rukeyser, Steinbeck, Kerouac, and Ginsberg. Requirements include several short writing assignments and one final project.