Spring 2016 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Cohen, Milton
Discipline and Number
LIT 3325 Section 001
MW Time 11:30 AM - 12:45 PM
Course Title
American Modernism

Description of Course:

This course surveys American literature from 1910 to about 1945. It concentrates primarily on modernism of the 1910s and 1920s, but also surveys the political literture of the 1930s and samples a few war poems of the 1940s.

To experience the range of modernist styles, we shall read poetry of Pound, Eliot, H.D., Williams, Moore, Cummings, and Stevens; fiction of Anderson, Hemingway, Toomer, Fitzgerald, Dos Passos, and Faulkner; and drama of O'Neill. Of the various comminglings of literature and politics in the 1930s, we shall look at the documentary reportage of Le Sueur, the proletarian drama of Odets, "engaged" poems of Rukeyser, Fearing and Taggard (as well as skeptical responses from the earlier modernists), and two “blendings”: modernism and social realism in Dos Passos, and race and leftist politics in Wright.

Required Texts:

Norton Anthology of American Literature, 8th ed. (vol. D)
Hemingway, In Our Time
Fitzgerald, Babylon Revisited and Other Stories
Dos Passos, Manhattan Transfer (Marriner Books)
Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury (Norton Critical Edition)
Wright, Native Son (restored text)
packet of readings (available only at Off-Campus Books)

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Students will write one longer research paper (ca. 10 pp.) or two shorter ones (5 pp. each)—60% of grade. A creative project may be substituted for one of the shorter papers. Since class will proceed primarily by discussion, student participation is important: both oral and written (as reaction papers for major readings)—40% of grade.

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