American Lit since Mid-20C

American literature since 1950 has responded to, and in some
cases, helped to create artistic and social movements against war (Vietnam,
Iraq, Iraq, Afghanistan); against racism and other hatreds; for and against
postmodern ways of perceiving the world by way of novels, non-fiction writing,
and poetry; and above all toward better ways of seeing what Adrienne Rich
called “the difficult world.” In this course we will read a small fraction of
the wonderful literature of the time, engage in class discussions, and work on
writing with precision and clarity. There will be two essays, a midterm and a
final exam, along with lots of shorter assignments, including oral reports on
historical and cultural backgrounds of the course.

Required texts (available at Revolution Books):

Allen Ginsberg, Howl, City Lights,

Joseph Heller, Catch-22,Simon & Schuster;

Frank O’Hara, Lunch Poems,City Lights Publishers;

Michael Herr, Dispatches, Vintage,

Yusef Kumanyakaa, Dien Cai Dau, Wesleyan,

Maxine Hong Kingston, China Men, Vintage

Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon, Vintage

Adrienne Rich, Atlas of the Difficult World, Norton

Walter Mosley, The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, Riverhead