Spring 2007

HUMS 650
Faulkner and the Thirties


01/22/2007 - 05/05/2007
Wednesday 06:30 PM - 09:00 PM

Downey 100

Faulkner is often described as a great modernist novelist and sometimes as the prototypical southern writer. In this course, we'll take a slightly different approach, considering Faulkner's major works and career in relation to the broader context of American politics and culture in the 1930s. We will consider the ways in which Faulkner both distanced himself from and engaged with some of the prominent literary movements of the day.

Major texts will include: Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury; Schwartz, In Dreams Begin Responsibilities; Faulkner, As I Lay Dying; Steinbeck, Grapes of Wrath; Faulkner, Sanctuary; Hammett, Red Harvest; Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom; Farrell, Studs Lonigan; Faulkner, Light In August; Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God; Faulkner, The Hamlet. (Depending on student interest, this list might be changed or shortened slightly.)

Examinations and assignments will include journal entries, one brief paper (5-7 pages), and a longer term paper (10-15 pages).

Students are expected to have read The Great Gatsby for the first course meeting.

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: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:
Raymond Chandler, THE BIG SLEEP (Vintage), Paperback

William Faulkner, ABSALOM, ABSALOM! (Vintage), Paperback

William Faulkner, AS I LAY DYING (Vintage), Paperback

William Faulkner, GO DOWN, MOSES (Vintage), Paperback

William Faulkner, THE HAMLET (Vintage), Paperback

William Faulkner, LIGHT IN AUGUST (Vintage), Paperback

William Faulkner, SANCTUARY (Vintage), Paperback

William Faulkner, THE SOUND AND THE FURY (Vintage), Paperback

F. Scott Fitzgerald, TENDER IS THE NIGHT (Scribner), Paperback

Zora Neale Hurston, THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD (Perennial Classics), Paperback

John Steinbeck, THE GRAPES OF WRATH (Penguin Classics), Paperback

Nathanael West, MISS LONELYHEARTS & THE DAY OF THE LOCUST (New Directions), Paperback


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