Joint-honours information for 2016 entry

Documentary America: Non-Fiction Writing

Module Q3142D

Module details for 2016/17.

30 credits

FHEQ Level 6

Module Outline

The study of American fiction often precludes an examination of some of the best writing and forms of self-representation that America has produced: political and photo-essays, social science publications, journalism, and reportage. This module examines the development of iconic non-fictional American literature and its relation with other forms of documentary representation (such as film and photography) from the 19th century to the 20th. We will look at the style, content and circulation of non-fictional forms and examine their relationship within wider discourses of cultural, social and political representation in America. We will look at a variety of examples of documentary literary genres to uncover an emerging complexity: from the insertion of the “I” in nineteenth century journalism and the undercover reportage in the slums, to Zora Neale Hurston’s ‘ethnographic’ preservation of folk ‘lies’, through to the use of documentary aesthetics in plays and poetry and the subsequent development of postmodern documentary aethetics. We will also look at the ways that these forms intersect with the development of modernist and postmodernist literature in the US more broadly and with the historical events they attempt to represent. For this module you will have to read from a broad selection of materials that do not necessarily fit into conventional literary genres. We will analyse why writers and artists have chosen to represent events in the way that they do and the wider cultural impact of those forms.

TermMethodDurationWeek pattern
Spring SemesterSeminar3 hours11111111111

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