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Literature is one way of making sense of the world. This course looks at some of the ways
modern American writers have made sense, or tried to make sense, of the rapidly changing
twentieth century. Although there's a world of difference between, say, the disturbing
introspection of Sylvia Plath's heroine and Vladimir Nabokov's rapturous villain, students learn
to evaluate each work in its social and artistic context. Students examine how the positions we
occupy-for example, our gender, class, or race-determine in part the kind of sense we make of the
world, as both writers and readers.
- Identify representative examples of literary movements and major authors based on the style
and subject matter of a passage.
- Demonstrate close reading skills, having steeped themselves in the texts and communicated
their understanding in formal and informal writing assignments.
- Describe the cultural and historical contexts of literary works and analyze the way authors
responded to these contexts.
- Select and apply diverse critical frameworks (e.g., formalism, historicism, gender and
sexuality studies, book, and media studies) to interpretive problems.
- Unit 1: Henry James’s Social and Psychological Realism
- Unit 2: The Brute in the American City: Frank Norris and Naturalism
- Unit 3: Feminine Malady and Feminist Utopia in Charlotte Perkins Gilman
- Unit 4: The Lost Generation and the Transformation of the Short Story
- Unit 5: Nella Larsen: Writing Double Consciousness
- Unit 6: Richard Wright: The African American Novel of Protest
Required text and materials
The following textbooks or materials are required for this course:
- James, Henry, et al. (2003). Tales of Henry James (including The Text of the Tales, The
Author on His Craft, Criticism). W. W. Norton & Company.
Type: Novel. ISBN:
- Norris, Frank. (2009). McTeague: A Story of San Francisco. Oxford University Press.
Type: Novel. ISBN: 9780199554898
- Larsen, Nella. (2007). Passing. Penguin Classics.
Type: Novel. ISBN:
- Gilman, Charlotte Perkins, and Beth Sutton-Ramspeck. (2013). Herland and Related
Writings. Broadview Press.
Type: Novel. ISBN: 9781551119878
- Wright, Richard. (2003). Native Son. Harper Perennial Modern Classics.
Novel. ISBN: 9780393977103
Please be aware that should your course have a final exam, you are responsible for the fee to the online proctoring service, ProctorU, or to the in-person approved Testing Centre. Please contact email@example.com with any questions about this.
To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on
the overall course, and 50% or higher on the final mandatory exam.
Note: The final exam for this course is only available as a paper exam and must be taken in person at an approved Testing Centre. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
|Assignment 1: Textual Analysis, Units 1–2
|Assignment 2: Multimodal Project
|Assignment 3: Textual Analysis and Research, Units 1–4
|Assignment 4a: Textual Analysis and Research Proposal, Units 1–6
|Assignment 4b: Textual Analysis and Research Essay, Units 1–6
|Final Exam (mandatory)
Open Learning Faculty Member Information
An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.