Study of a Period: The Twentieth Century: The Outsider
This course examines the American myth of the outsider in the twentieth century. The outsider paradoxically occupies the center of the American novel, and we will explore this lonely—and emblematic—American figure. Starting with The Great Gatsby’s paradigmatic incarnation of the outsider set against a nativist American vision, our readings will trace this figure into changing historical and cultural circumstances. We will read novels by Willa Cather, Nella Larsen, James Baldwin, and Patricia Highsmith, among others, and we will also screen two films: Rebel without a Cause and Taxi Driver. Periodic quizzes, two short essays, and two in-class exams.