This course focalizes twentieth-century American literature around disjunction and collage, engaging especially texts that employ these techniques to develop inroads for reflection on history, politics, citizenship, representation, multilingualism, and identity. Its organizing principle follows that of what Ezra Pound once called the "radiant cluster": our schedule of readings will be reticulated and relational, resonant, superposed, and paratactic. If there is something "American" about these texts, it is to be found in their differences.
Readings will track literary movements such as Modernism, the Harlem Renaissance, Confessional poetry, the Beat Generation, Postmodernism, and contemporary literature. Texts include Jean Toomer's Cane, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's Dictee, and Claudia Rankine's Citizen.