Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Modern America

ENGL 064.001

This course will introduce students to the major American writers of the first half of the twentieth century.  Our readings and discussions will explore the following issues: the relationship between modernist form and key aspects of social modernity (e.g., the city, the assembly line, the automobile, and mechanized war); modernism and mass culture; modernism and consumerism; modernism, race, and ethnicity; modernism and money; and modernism, politics, and the Great Depression. Readings will include: Anderson, Winesburg Ohio, Hemingway, In Our Time, Faulkner, As I Lay Dying and selected short stories, Zora Neale Hurston, selected short stories, West, Miss Lonelyhearts, A Cool Million, and The Day of the Locust, Kromer, Waiting for Nothing, and Dos Passos, The Big Money, We will also see some films and read some poetry from the period.  It is possible that some more recent texts like Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood, or Don De Lillo’s White Noise will be included, so that we can address the relationship between modernism and postmodernism. Requirements: mid-term and final papers.

fulfills requirements
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major