English and drama

American Literature Since 1890: Part I

Module code: Q3171
Level 5
15 credits in autumn teaching
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework, Unseen examination

This module will introduce significant and canonical texts by American writers produced since 1890 and throughout the first part of the twentieth century. By analysing the working of class, gender and race in these texts we will explore many of the social and cultural issues associated with the evolution of American modernity and American modernist aesthetics. We will observe the different ways in which writers tackle or avoid important economic and social questions of the period. We will examine how important socio-economic developments such as the rise of industrialisation and urbanisation, war, consumer culture, the question of women's rights and ideas of national identity shape the stylistic and thematic fabric of these works.

Module learning outcomes

  • Knowledge of major trends and concerns in American literature from 1900 through to 1960.
  • Critical understanding of the interrelation between literary modes of writing and other public discourses.
  • Ability to analyse these different forms of discourse and to apply a professional critical vocabulary to describe them.
  • Ability to communicate such understanding, analysis, and critical insight in written form.