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]
In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle.
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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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- Unit value:
- 6 units
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