ENGLISH 270 - Introduction to American Literature
Fall 2021, Section 001 - American Dreams & Realities
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


This class will take a look at how American literature has evolved over time all the way up to the present, as well as how it has captured significant historical and cultural moments along the way. Our readings will include many of the writers one expects to encounter in an American lit course—Herman Melville, Edith Wharton, Zora Neale Hurston—but also a number of exciting new voices—including Julie Otsuka, Justin Torres, and Alice Sola Kim. In surveying a diverse and distinct body of American writing, we will seek to define our own taxonomy of what “American literature” entails and represents. We’ll discuss the formal and thematic issues we assume American literature will feature, whether those elements really hold true over the course of the work we’ll study together, how the texts speak to one another, and, most importantly, how these unique works create their own visions of America.

A key component of the class will be our approach to these texts in large part as writers ourselves, and how we might apply their craft lessons to our own writing: in other words, we won’t just discuss their content and place in American literature, but how they work, and what specific craft choices might communicate about notions of national identity.

Course Requirements:

There will be a variety of writing assignments (including two papers, one in the middle of the semester and one at the end, with the option to make them creative fiction or nonfiction). Class attendance and participation are mandatory.


ENGLISH 270 - Introduction to American Literature
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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