American Literature

This course surveys the texts and contexts that have shaped and continue to shape American literature. From Walt Whitman’s proud assertion of an American selfhood in “Song of Myself” (1855) to Junot Díaz’s engaging and complex consideration of national identity in The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007), we will explore multiple versions of American identity as they have developed through time, across different regions both inside and outside the US, and through representation in prose narrative, poetry, and drama. Readings include, but are not limited to the following authors: Henry James, Elizabeth Bishop, James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry, Sherman Alexie, Gish Jen, Toni Morrison.