Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Syllabus: Twentieth-Century American Literature

American Literature (Spring Semester 2007)
Course Syllabus

Instructor: Anna Vladimirovna Filatova
E-mail: filatowa@mail.ru

Course Description: This course will give you a survey of American Literature from the post-Civil War era to the modern times and will help you to understand the texts through close reading and through analysis of the historical, cultural, and artistic value of the text.
The emergence of realism and naturalism in the post-war industrial era, humorists, the Lost Generation writers and experimental writers, regionalism, the Beat Generation, major works of poetry and drama of the twentieth century will be studied. This course allows you to read numerous short stories, portions of plays, poetry, and novels to gain more insight into literary trends in America

Required books:
1. Highlights of American Literature" (published by the Materials Branch English Language Program Division). 1995.
2. Titova.S. Studies in American Literature. MSU. 1999.
3. Monolingual English dictionaries: Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary or Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.
4. Dictionary of literary terms and literary theory. J.A. Cuddon. The Penguin. New Edition. 1992.

Minimum requirements for passing this course are substantial course participation, on-time work, and satisfactory attendance.To succeed in the course, you will need to read assignments carefully - that is, more than once-, to follow the syllabus and be prepared to discuss the readings in-depth when you come to class. Class time will be devoted mainly to discussion of the readings which will require preparation and participation on your part! We will make an ample use of the Web as a resource and we will end up creating our own web sites where you are expected to demonstrate your critical thinking, your skills in creative writing, and your abilities to work in a team.

Please note that during the semester you will be required:
· to take reading quizes;
· to develop your research and writing skills by creating your group's weblog (your research portfolio) and posting comments on other groups' weblogs on a weekly basis;
· to produce a collaborative web project and to evaluate the sites of your fellow students.

Regular attendance is the only way to keep up with the ongoing "conversation" of the course. It will also be a factor in the final grades. You should not expect to pass the course if any one of the four major areas of the course--quizes, attendance/participation, blog entries, and the participation in the final web project -- missing, incomplete, or unsatisfactory.

The syllabus below is tentative and may have to be adjusted to reflect the speed at which this particular class works. We might add some additional poems, for example, or find we have to omit a work if we get behind; you are responsible for knowing any changes made orally in class.

Tentative List of Readings and Due Dates (tentative because these may have to change depending on class progress)

** Note! Before each class, you are supposed to read the material listed beside the date. Page numbers include introductions to the authors; be sure to read these.

Week 1- February 8
Introduction to the course and upcoming web projects.

Week 2- February 15
T. Dreiser as a naturalist.
Read: T.Dreiser, “The Second Choice” (http://www.ffl.msu.ru/staff/stitova/amlit/The%20Second%20Choice.html)
”Highlights of American Literature” (HAL) p.145-150,
“Studies in American Literature” (SAL) p.21-23.

Week 3- February 22
M. Twain and American Humor: Storytelling style in M.Twain’s stories
Read: M. Twain’s short biography (http://www.lucidcafe.com/lucidcafe/library/95nov/twain.html) + HAL p.97-98.
M. Twain, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

Week 4- March 1
W. Faulkner: a renowned Mississippi writer and the Nobel Prize winning novelist.Read: http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1949/faulkner-bio.html
W. Faulkner, “Dry September”.
Setting and theme. SAL p.20-21.

Week 5- March 15
Francis Scott Fitzgerald: the Jazz Age writer. “The Great Gatsby”
Read: "The Roaring Twenties", an article by Svetlana V. Titova, an MSU professor (http://www.ffl.msu.ru/staff/stitova/article2.html)
SAL p.25-27.

Week 6- March 22
Characters in “The Great Gatsby”: speech portrayals, appearance, clothes, actions, names, thoughts. (SAL p.27-29.)
Symbols and theme in the novel. (SAL p.29).
Theme analysis of the novel: http://www.novelguide.com/thegreatgatsby/themeanalysis.html

Week 7- March 29
E. Hemingway as a representative of the “Lost Generation” writers.
Read: http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/books/1999/hemingway/stories/biography/index.html E.Hemingway, "In Another Country". (HAL 202-205)
Hemingway's principles of short story writing. HAL p.201-206.

Week 8- April 5
J. Steinbeck as a naturalist and realist in his prose.
Read: J.Steinbeck, “The Winter of Our Discontent”.
Plot and story in his novel “The Winter of Our Discontent”. SAL p.30.

Week 9- April 12
American Drama: T.Williams, Eugene O’Neil, Arthur Miller

Week 10- April 19
Discussion of Tennessee Williams’ plays “Streetcar Named Desire” and “The Glass Menagerie”

Peer evaluations of the sites are due!!!

Week 11- April 26
The Beat Generation: Poetry and Prose

Week 12- April 28
Site Presentations!!!

Week 13- May 10
Trends in American Fiction
Texts for Discussion: Kurt Vonnegut, “Slaughterhouse Five” or J.D.Salinger, 9 Stories

Week 14- May 17
TBD Modern American Poetry

Week 15- May 24
Final Evaluation of the course.

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