Summer 2011

New York City in the 1940s - Foundational Course Option


07/04/2011 - 08/05/2011
Tuesday & Thursday 06:30 PM - 09:30 PM

285 Court Street

Foundational course option: Students taking the course with this option will receive more extensive and detailed feedback on their work through more frequent writing assignments and individual meetings with the instructor. Foundational courses are intended to provide an additional level of guidance, support, and feedback to ensure that students cultivate the tools and skills necessary for graduate level research and writing. All GLSP students working toward a degree are strongly encouraged to take a foundational course during their first few courses in the program. To choose the Foundational course option, please register for HUMS 639W.

This course will consider the cultural and intellectual life of the Big Apple in the years during and after World War II. Our main focus will be on the fiction, poetry, and drama that contributed to the decade's literary renaissance. But we'll read that material in the context of contemporaneous developments in painting, photography, film, and music, as well as in the era's prominent theories of culture and society. We'll discuss the social and political factors that made New York a vibrant cultural center during the '40s and a bellwether of the developments that would transform the United States in the decades after World War II.

Primary texts will include works by W. H. Auden, Paul Bowles, Ralph Ellison, Kenneth Fearing, John Hersey, Patricia Highsmith, Mary McCarthy, Arthur Miller, Ann Petry, Lionel Trilling, and Tennessee Williams.

Students will be asked to write several response papers (3-4 pp) and a research paper (10-15 pp) or to design a web site or museum exhibit presenting material from the era.

Enrollment in HUMS 639 is limited to 14 students.

This course is open to auditors.

Enrollment in HUMS 639W is limited to 4 students.

This course is not open to auditors.

The deadline to withdraw and receive a tuition refund for this course is Wednesday, July 6 at 5:00 pm. Please visit our website for a complete list of registration and withdrawal dates for this session.

A syllabus for this course is available at:

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: 4

Texts to purchase for this course:
Ellison, Ralph, Invisible Man, Vintage

Fearing, Kenneth, The Big Clock, New York Review Books Classics

Hersey, John, Hiroshima

Highsmith, Patricia, Strangers on a Train, W.W. Norton and Company

McCarthy, Mary, The Company She Keeps, Little, Brown Young Readers

Miller, Arthur, All My Sons, Penguin Classics

Petry, Ann, The Street: A Novel, Mariner Books

Salinger, J.D., Nine Stories, Back Bay Books

Smith, Betty, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Deluxe Trade Edition), Harper Perennial Modern Classics

Williams, Tennessee, A Streetcar Named Desire (With intro by Arthur Miller), New Directions

Reading Materials are available at BROAD STREET BOOKS, 45 Broad Street, Middletown, 860-685-7323 Order your books online

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