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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : English Literature

Postgraduate Course: Cities of Words: 20th Century Urban America (ENLI11065)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course enables students to explore a variety of representations of modern urban United States, focusing specifically at New York and Los Angeles. We'll be looking a number of different genres of writing - fiction, poetry, travel narrative - to consider the ways in which the city has been depicted in American literary culture. The relationship between aesthetics and urban geography will also be examined through reading a number of key theorists alongside the primary texts. The course encourages both close critical engagement and conceptual thinking about the ways in which city spaces function as part of modern culture.
Course description This course enables students to explore a variety of representations of modern urban United States, focusing specifically at New York and Los Angeles. We'll be looking a number of different genres of writing - fiction, poetry, travel narrative - to consider the ways in which the city has been depicted in American literary culture. The relationship between aesthetics and urban geography will also be examined through reading a number of key theorists alongside the primary texts. The course encourages both close critical engagement and conceptual thinking about the ways in which city spaces function as part of modern culture.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate their understanding of critical issues in relation to the city as a crucial site in the production of US literature and American modernity.
  2. Speak and write fluently about these issues in relation to the primary texts, and the socio-historical contexts in which they are embedded.
  3. Apply a range of relevant literary theories, such as spatial theory, African-American literary criticism, and postmodernism, to the primary texts on the course, and evaluate these theories in relation to each other.
  4. Apply a range of secondary criticism to the primary texts on the course, and evaluate them in relation to their own readings.
  5. Further improve their abilities in areas fundamental to the study of English literature: essay writing, independent reading, critical thinking, class discussion, oral presentation of information, and the ability to learn autonomously in small groups.
Reading List
Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie (1900)
Nella Larsen, Passing (1929)
Toni Morrison, Jazz (1992)
Paul Auster, The New York Trilogy (1987) Nathanael West, The Day of the Locust (1939) Bret Easton Ellis, Less Than Zero (1985) Karen Tei Yamashita, Tropic of Orange (1997)

Other primary texts (provided on LEARN):

Anzia Yezierska, Hungry Hearts (1920)
E.B. White, Here is New York (1949)
Frank O┬┐Hara, selected poems

Secondary reading will be provided on LEARN.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information 1 hour(s) per week for 10 week(s).
KeywordsNot entered
Contacts
Course organiserDr Andrew Taylor
Tel: (1031 6)50 4584
Email: Andrew.Taylor@ed.ac.uk
Course secretaryMiss Kara McCormack
Tel: (0131 6)50 3030
Email: Kara.McCormack@ed.ac.uk
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