American Literature

What makes a work of literature “American”? The United States is proverbially a nation of immigrants, but its literary history is also rife with famous expatriates who moved elsewhere to work. This course covers major works of literature by authors from America, from elsewhere who settled here, from elsewhere who wrote about here, and more. We’ll think through many possible answers to the question of what counts as American literature—and examine what the stakes of the question are. Authors will likely include Sherman Alexie, Dion Boucicault, James Baldwin, Henry James, Herman Melville, Maaza Mengiste, and more.