ENGLISH 362 - The American Novel
Fall 2020, Section 001 - U.S. Modernism in Words & Images
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  Online (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:


The cultural aspirations of the novel in the US—its ambition to explore questions of citizenship, collective identity, the powers of art, and more—have transformed along with the nation as it evolved from fledgling republic and house divided to world industrial power and beyond. Throughout its history, writers have explored likenesses between the elastic, sprawling form of the novel and the real and symbolic space of America. Often they’ve done so by revisiting the work of writers who came before them. This class will focus on varied experiments with the novel as a form uniquely suited to explore America’s animating myths and ideals. Rather than move chronologically, we’ll work with pairings that emphasize writers’ interests in rethinking the history of their form to register—and even shape—the life of the nation. Our pairings will likely include: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Richard Wright, Native Son; Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter and Philip Roth, The Human Stain; Herman Melville, Benito Cereno and Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man; F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby and Bharati Mukherjee, Jasmine. We’ll also work with other materials—films, visual images, and VR games/environments—that will help us account for the life of the novel in the US. Some of our key questions: how do our fictions map or imagine the spaces of America (e.g., free and slave states, territories, urban centers, farmlands and ghettos, the East and the Midwest)? What kinds of narrative voices and modes of story-telling do they experiment with to make sense of American experience? How do they remember and revise earlier novels, and what claims do they make for art as a shaping force in the creation of American identity?

Intended Audience:

Not compatible with Online-only students.

Class Format:

Exams: Synchronous/Asynchronous and In-Person/Online

Lectures: Synchronous and In-Person

Class Discussions: Synchronous and In-Person


ENGLISH 362 - The American Novel
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM

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