American Literature

This course surveys the texts and contexts that have shaped and continue to shape North American literature. From Walt Whitman’s proud assertion of his notion of an American selfhood in “Song of Myself” (1855) to Tommy Orange’s engaging method of writing contemporary Native Americans into a clear and similarly assertive focus in There There (2018), we will explore multiple versions of American identity as they have developed through time, across different regions both inside and outside the U.S., and through representation in the major literary genres of prose narrative, poetry, and drama. Readings include, but are not limited to the following authors: Henry James, Elizabeth Bishop, James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry, Min Jin Lee, Toni Morrison.