Credit hours: 3
GEC categories: GE Literature; GE Diversity: Social Diversity in the US; GE Writing and Communication: level 2
Prerequisites: 1110.01 (110.01) or equiv, and Soph standing; or EM credit for 1110.01 (110.01) or equiv; or a declared major in English. Not open to students with credit for 2367.01 (367.01), 210, 267, 267H, 301, 303, or equiv.
|The Butter Battle Book||Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss)||Random House|
|The Sun Also Rises||Ernest Hemingway||Scribners|
|Typical American||Gish Jen||Vintage|
|Selected Poems||Claude McKay||Dover|
Course Content: Let’s not kid ourselves: the “experience” of America is as diverse as the federation of states that are united under its flag. Despite the universalizing title of this class, we will explore several American experiences, laying aside the unrealistic hope of knowing them all or distilling their many flavors into a single brew. Our focus will be on the last century and we will chronicle some of its literary chroniclers. 1) Ernest Hemingway, who fictionalized his life as an American living abroad in a decimated post-World-War-One Europe in The Sun Also Rises; 2) Claude McKay, the poetic voice of the many-faceted African American cultural awakening now known as the Harlem Renaissance; 3) Theodor Geisel (you may know him as Dr. Seuss), a World War Two pro-American propagandist who protested the militarism of the Cold War in The Butter Battle Book; 4) Gish Jen, whose novel, Typical American, grapples with melting-pot ideals and family complications, and 5) Bruce Springsteen—musician and poet—the “working class hero” whose patriotism is often laced with anti-establishment critique. Along the way we'll do some chronicling of our own, commenting on the evolution of “America” as an ideal and concluding with a final essay on how this ideal (and its diversity of experience) changed in the aftermath of that fateful September morning almost twelve years ago.
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