This course examines a selection of American novels, novellas and short stories that were published during what is now sometimes referred to as, the 'American Century'. In investigating a selection of twentieth-century US texts, we will analyse and reflect on the connections between authors' experimentations and/or narrative innovations, their use of more traditional forms and genres and their exploration of modern and postmodern American themes. Topics to be explored include the role of writing/literature in the age of multi- and digital media; racial/ multicultural/"post"racial identities; the role of the city, the suburbs and other American regions; utopian and dystopian visions of the future; literature and form/genre. The course will conclude with our exploration of the contemporary cable television drama, Mad Men, a series that can be thought of as thematising post 9/11 preoccupations with the idea that America has entered a new age of decline.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- identify key elements of twentieth-century American fiction and evaluate the similarities and differences between different narrative forms
- think, write and argue about the importance of literary, generic, intellectual and populist approaches to understanding everyday life in the context of the United States as a post-industrial or technologically advanced society.
- develop a critical stance on the role that narrative plays in imagining and responding to representations of everyday life.
Assessed tutorial presentation 15 mins and 150-200 word write-up of tutorial presentation (20%) [LO 1, 2, 3]
Essay of 1,500 words (30%) [LO 1, 2]
Essay of 2,500 words (50%) [LO 1, 2, 3]
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130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials.
b)100 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Gertrude Stein, Three Lives
William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
Donna Tartt, A Secret History
Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
Mad Men (AMC, Series One)
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- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
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