Fall 2008

HUMS 637
American Modernisms


09/08/2008 - 12/12/2008
Wednesday 07:00 PM - 09:30 PM

Fisk Hall 412

In the early decades of the 20th century, a remarkable generation of writers gave birth to a major renaissance in American literature. This course will consider the work of some of the important figures of the era, including Djuna Barnes, Willa Cather, Hart Crane, John Dos Passos, T. S. Eliot, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Langston Hughes, Henry Roth, Gertrude Stein, Jean Toomer, and William Carlos Williams. We will investigate the striking aesthetic innovations introduced by those writers, the widely shared philosophical premises that often informed their work, and some of the political and social contexts that helped inspire it. We will also look for the differing interests and convictions that made the new literature of the period a movement of aligned but idiosyncratic voices.

Sources studied will include novels and poems of the authors listed above.

Students will be required to write several short papers and a research essay of 10-15 pages.

For the first class meeting, students should read Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence and bring a copy of the text to class.

A syllabus for this course is available at:
Course Syllabus

Sean McCann (B.A. Georgetown University; Ph.D. City University of New York) is professor of English and American studies. He is author of A Pinnacle of Feeling: American Literature and Presidential Government, (Princeton University Press, 2008) and Gumshoe America: Hard-Boiled Crime Fiction and the Rise and Fall of New Deal Liberalism (Duke University Press, 2000). He was awarded Wesleyan's 2004 Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching. Click here for more information about Sean McCann.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:

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