ENGLISH 362 - The American Novel
Fall 2022, Section 001 - U.S. Modernism in Words & Images
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:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 8/29/22 - 12/9/22 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


How does one write something that’s never been thought? Why would an author write in mixed or invented languages? How do visual images respond to written narratives (and vice-versa)? We will discuss a broad range of novels, short fiction, film, photography, and graphic arts composed between 1898 and 1945 and the historical, political, and cultural trends that they were responding to and participating in. This was an extraordinary and tumultuous period of demographic change, artistic invention, economic instability, racialized violence, and political contestation that witnessed mass immigration, migration, and emigration. In paying particular attention to trends of demographic displacement and change within and across national borders, we’ll consider the heady experiments in language and narrative that took place during the first half of the twentieth century. The historical events of this period—framed by the wars of 1898 and World War II—will provide context for the novels we read.  

Some of the broad questions that we’ll track throughout the term include the following. How do these authors define the “modern”? What, for that matter, is a “novel” in twentieth-century U.S. literature?  How did these authors participate (and resist) the process of defining who counted as an “American”? What role did expatriates and immigrants play in the “new” United States of the twentieth century? How did modernists narrate the past? How did trends in technology (mass production, cinema, transportation), science (relativity), and politics influence novelists’ roles within U.S. modernity? How did these authors reconcile the modernist imperative to “make it new” with the histories of the U.S. and the Americas?  What were the new languages of modernity?  Authors we read may include Willa Cather, John Dos Passos, Nella Larsen, Américo Paredes, Gertrude Stein, Jean Toomer, H.T. Tsiang, and Richard Wright. 

Major Requirement: American Literature, Identity and Difference

Course Requirements:

Course requirements will include discussion posts, exams, and two essays. 


ENGLISH 362 - The American Novel
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM
8/29/22 - 12/9/22

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