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Modern America

ENGL 064.001

This course will introduce students to major (and some interesting minor) American writers from the first half of the twentieth century, while focusing to some extent on the decade of the 1930s. Our readings and discussions will explore the following questions: the relationship between modernist form and key aspects of social modernity (e.g., the city, the assembly line, the automobile, and mechanized war); the relationship between modernism, mass culture, and consumerism; the relationship between modernism, money, and the Great Depression; and finally, modernism and politics: the way writers of this period engaged with questions of race, class, ethnicity, gender, and national identity.  Readings are likely to include: Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio; Hemingway, In Our Time or The Sun Also Rises; Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby; Gold, Jews Without Money; Faulkner, As I Lay Dying and selected short stories; Hurston, selected short stories; West, Miss Lonelyhearts, A Cool Million, and The Day of the Locust; Kromer, Waiting for Nothing; Wright, Lawd Today; McCarthy, The Company She Keeps; Dos Passos, The Big Money, and Steinbeck, In Dubious Battle or The Grapes of Wrath.  We will also see some films, (e.g., Modern Times, I Was a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, and Scarface) and read some poetry from the period.  Requirements: mid-term and final papers.

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