American Lit 1950 to Present

Jean François Lyotard defines the postmodern as “incredulity
toward metanarratives.” This term, the “postmodern” has become one of the most
problematic and contested terms since the 1970s. This course will grapple with
the innovative narrative techniques of “post-War,” “late modern,”
“contemporary,” and “postmodern” transformations in narrative in the second
half of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first.

The years following World War II witnessed conflict with
hegemonic authority and a thirst for innovation in style, form, and
representation. Issues of identity and representation will be of paramount
importance as authors who actively confront histories of systematic oppression
and abjection.  From the Beats, to
confessional poets, to authors Ralph Ellison, Chang-Rae Lee, R. Zamora Linmark,
Cormac McCarthy, and Art Spiegelman we will consider multicultural
representations of America. We will trace developments in poetry from authors
like Ginsberg, Plath, Bishop, Lorde, and Rich. Likewise, we will actively
engage the postmodern metafictions of Paul Auster, Robert Coover, and Mark Z.
Danielewski.  Finally, we will
engage authors of digital literature Shelley Jackson and Davey Wreden.

Required Texts:

The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

A Gesture Life by Chang-Rae Lee

Rolling the R’s by R. Zamora Linmark

Mausby Art Spiegelman

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster

House of Leavesby Mark Z. Danielewski

Noir: A Novel by Robert Coover

Patchwork Girlby Shelley Jackson

The Stanley Parableby Davey Wreden

A Course Reader will be available from Professional Image.

Evaluation will be based on:

-Online class discussions (5%)

-In-class quizzes (10%)

-Student presentations on individual works accompanied by a
two-page paper (10%)

-An in-class midterm (15%)

-Two essays, about six pages each (20% each, 40% total)

-A final exam (20%)