Postgraduate Course: The American Novel 1970-2010 (ENLI11271)
|School||School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Not available to visiting students
|Summary||This course will explore a range of American novels written from the post-Vietnam era onwards, taking us into the new millennium. This forty-year span covers dramatic and far-reaching developments including the end of the Cold War, the age of the internet, and the onset of new crises around racial, gendered and sexual representation. The course is concerned with a period in the history of the US novel where the concerns and forms of high postmodernism ' a sceptical, ironic juxtaposition of high and low cultures, a rejection of (political) reality as an objective of narrative representation ' begin to evolve in interesting new directions that, in the examples we select for this course, address the intersection of formal experimentation and the tangible effects of power and history.
The books on this course show how, over a period of forty years across the millennium, the American novel responded both discursively and formally to the rapid changes in the country's social and cultural construction. Students will engage with both the formal experimentation of postmodernism and the revival of realism as an aesthetic that it provoked; we will see how fiction addresses and responds to historical events; and explore how the often fraught racial politics of the period are staged within its fiction.
Topics to be covered in seminars will include: the myth of Hollywood; the Cold War, containment, and the 'end of history'; Vietnam and the New Left; the War on Drugs and racial politics; American politics during the 1990s; the financial crisis of 2008.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||100% Coursework «br /»
100% 4,000-word essay
||Written feedback will be provided on the essay, and additional verbal feedback will be available from the course organiser on request.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Construct original, clear and coherent arguments about the modern America novel¿s depictions of racial politics, financial crises, and globalisation.
- Analyse literary texts using recognised methods of literary criticism to substantiate and illustrate those arguments.
- Evaluate and assess ideas from works of secondary criticism in order to bring them to bear on their own analyses of modern American fiction.
- Examine literary texts for evidence of stylistic and formal innovation, and illustrate their findings with examples from the novels on the course.
- Orally present the result of research undertaken individually and as part of a small group, respond judiciously to such research undertaken by others, and critically evaluate the importance of such material for an understanding of the chief themes of the course.
|Indicative reading list:|
Don DeLillo, White Noise (1985)
Joan Didion, Play It As It Lays (1970)
Percival Everett, Erasure (2001)
Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections (2001)
Gish Jen, Mona in the Promised Land (1996)
Philip Roth, The Human Stain (2000)
Dana Spiotta, Eat the Document (2006)
Colson Whitehead, Zone One (2011
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Knowledge and understanding: students will have had the opportunity to demonstrate their detailed knowledge of some of the key political and social issues that shaped American society between 1970 and 2010.
Applied Knowledge, Skills and Understanding: in their work for class discussion and formal assessment tasks, students will have been able to practice the application of these concepts in their construction of arguments about the course material.
Generic Cognitive Skills: through group work and completing assessed essays, students will have practiced identifying, designing, conceptualising and analysing complex problems and issues germane to the discipline.
Communication: through participating in these tasks students will also have demonstrated the ability to communicate ideas and information about specialised topics in the discipline to an informed audience of their peers and subject specialists.
Autonomy and Working with Others: students will also have shown the capacity to work autonomously and in small groups on designated tasks, develop new thinking with their peers, and take responsibility for the reporting, analysis and defence of these ideas to a larger group.
|Keywords||Fiction; postmodernism; politics; American; New Left; Cold War; end of history.
|Course organiser||Dr Alexandra Lawrie
Tel: (0131 6)50 8968
|Course secretary||Mrs Lina Gordyshevskaya