Contemporary American Literature

Course Number: ENGL 140
Prerequisites: Check on GOLD
General Education Areas Fulfilled: Check on GOLD
Catalog Course Entry: ENGL 140
Quarter: Summer B 2012
Day(s): MTWR
Time: 2:00 - 3:05 PM
Location: GIRV 1115

This course traverses the recent American thoughtscape, surveying different ways that Americans imagine narratives of their own history -- past, present, and future -- and a series of ways that we imagine alternatives to standard narratives. The course will begin with /The Plot Against America/, Philip Roth's alternative history of America's relationship to the fascist powers during World War II, followed by Toni Morrison's /Beloved/, in which we will pay special attention to her theory of "rememory." We will pause to examine T.S. Eliot's /Four Quartets/, with its meditations on the relationships between time and eternity, then turn to two novels that examine possibilities for relating to the present: Audrey Niffenegger's /The Time Traveler's Wife/ and James Hynes's /The Lecturer's Tale/. The quarter will end with Cormac McCarthy's bleak, yet ultimately hopeful, future imaginary, /The Road/.

Students attempting to enroll after the course fills should */both/* add themselves to the wait-list at */and/* continue to check GOLD for openings -- unlike English classes during the normal academic year, this course will allow crashers to register after the course fills up, if openings appear due to registered students dropping.

A draft syllabus (subject to change until it is handed out in class) can be found at