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Fall 2011 Undergraduate English Courses: Twentieth Century

350:356 Twentieth Century Fiction II

01 MW6 CAC 34903 MCCLURE MU-208

This course provides an introduction to some of the most compelling North American novelists of the late twentieth century. We’ll read works by Paul Bowles, Jack Kerouac, John Updike, Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, Toni Morrison, and Michael Ondaatje. As we make our way through these works, we’ll track the persistence of  modernist modes of writing invented in the early twentieth century and the emergence of newer modes identified with postmodernism.  And we’ll focus on two themes central to the fiction, the theme of individual freedom and the theme of civilizational crisis. Even as the works we read explore and advocate new possibilities of individual freedom, they question the American equation of freedom with flourishing. And even as they go “on the road” in an increasingly globalized world, they question the ideology that identifies global modernization with progress, prosperity, and peace.

 Reading quizzes on each text. A 7 page term paper focused on two or more texts. Regular attendance required