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Unit information: American Literature in 2016/17

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Unit name American Literature
Unit code ENGL30024
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Gareth Griffith
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description

This unit aims to introduce students to a selection of poetry and prose that gives a flavour of the development and variety of American literature. Examples will be chosen from across the nineteenth- and twentieth centuries, and may include authors such as Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson, William Carlos Williams, Allen Ginsberg, Frank O'Hara, Sylvia Plath, Saul Bellow, and John Updike.

Aims:

This unit aims to introduce students to a variety of prose and poetry that reflects the range of writing in nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature. Students will be encouraged to consider in depth the American voice (or American voices); use of form and forms; parallel developments in American society; and the relationship to, and commentary on, the European tradition.

Intended learning outcomes

Successful students will be able to:

1) demonstrate knowledge of the chronology, range, and variety of American literature in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries

2) critically analyse novels and poetry, as well as non-fictional prose

3) draw comparisons and consider differences within this tradition and beyond it

4) communicate their ideas about these issues effectively

5) present a persuasive written argument

Teaching details

Ten 3-hour seminars.

Assessment Details

Students will be required to write two essays for formal assessment. The first will be of up to 2,000 words; in this assignment, students will be asked to engage with a particular text or a topic with a relatively defined scope. The second will be of up to 3,000 words and will normally involve a wider range of texts and/or approaches to literature in this period. The first essay will be worth 40% of the unit mark; the second essay will be worth 60%. [ILOs 1-5]

Reading and References

  • Herman Melville, Moby Dick
  • William Carlos Williams, Collected Poems
  • Allen Ginsberg, Howl
  • Frank O'Hara, Lunch Poems
  • Saul Bellow, Herzog
  • John Updike, The Rabbit Novels

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