English 566: 20th-Century American Prose

This course will introduce students to major texts and current critical methods in 20th-century U.S. literary studies, with a focus on the novel and prose nonfiction. We’ll cover texts and authors on the MA reading list while surveying recent scholarship that will provide good models for doctoral-level research questions and methods. We’ll place some emphasis on the relationships between new media technologies and literature across the century, but the course will also provide a firm foundation in major movements, periods, and topics in the field. Likely authors: Theodor Dreiser, W.E.B. Du Bois, William Faulkner, Nella Larsen, Patricia Highsmith, Ralph Ellison, Vladimir Nabokov, Thomas Pynchon, Ursula K. Le Guin, Joan Didion, Leslie Marmon Silko, Toni Morrison, Chang Rae Lee, David Foster Wallace. Students will deliver a short presentation, write an academic book review, and write a seminar paper.