American studies

American Literature in the Long Twentieth Century

Module code: T7062
Level 5
15 credits in autumn semester
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework

This module introduces significant texts by American writers produced between 1890 and 2001.

We will analyse the workings of class, gender, race, sexual identity, technology, capital and economy in these texts. Through this, we’ll explore issues associated with American modernity and its cultural logic as expressed in modernist, realist, post-modern, poetic and other literary texts.

You’ll observe the different ways that writers tackle or avoid important economic and social questions of the period.

We will examine how important socio-economic developments shape the stylistic and thematic fabric of these works, such as:

  • the rise of industrialisation and urbanisation
  • war
  • consumer culture
  • the internet
  • the Cold War
  • neoliberalism
  • feminism
  • ideas of national and personal identity.

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate detailed knowledge of major trends and concerns in American literature from 1890 through to 2001.
  • Show critical understanding of the interrelation between literary modes of writing and other discourses.
  • Sensitively apply a literary critical vocabulary to texts on the module and understand them in their cultural, social and historical context.
  • Ability to effectively communicate understanding, analysis, and critical insight of key ideas from the module in written form, in shorter analytical pieces and longer essays.