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762-01 Sem: 20th Century American Literature
Professor Meg SchoerkeClass meeting time: Wednesdays 6:10-8:55
Through a close reading of several important experimental books that combine poetry and prose, the seminar will explore the interrelation between these two genres in 20th century American writing. We will try to answer questions such as: Is there such a thing as “prose poetry”? What is genre--and is it obsolete? How and why have modern and post-modern poets incorporated prose techniques into their work? How do such books complicate definitions of modernism and post-modernism? Texts will include William Carlos Williams’s Spring and All; Marianne Moore's Observations; Jean Toomer’s Cane; W. H. Auden's The Sea and the Mirror; Robert Lowell’s Life Studies; Vladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire; and Tyhimba Jess's recent Pulitzer prize winning book, Olio.
English 763: Contemporary American Fiction
Professor Michael J Krasny
Class time: Tu/Th 2:10-3:25
This seminar focuses on contemporary American fiction – an exciting, explosive, innovative and relevant period for fiction. We will work with short stories but, since many of the authors we are studying are also novelists, we take into account the larger and more traditional genre. Though we begin with major figures of the post-World War II era no longer among the living, such as Flannery O’Connor, Grace Paley, Ralph Ellison, John Updike and Raymond Carver, we move into the terrain of current living authors, including Joyce Carol Oates, Sherman Alexie, Tim O’Brien, Don DeLillo and Lorrie Moore. Emphasis will be on close readings of individual authors, as well as our plummeting the depths of American cultural history, intertextuality and a general working through the trajectory of political and literary changes in the United States during the period under study. Classes will be a blend of lecture and discussion via analysis and evaluation of works studied along established as well as new routes of critical and scholarly approaches to fiction.