Course Instructor Days Times Room
ENGL4760 PIZZINO, CHRISTOPHER TR 2 :00 PM 0144

Description

Some courses covering “contemporary American literature” start in the 1960s or early 1970s and end in the early 1990s.  This is understandable, since those years saw an explosion of new aesthetics and the rise of a new generation of major authors—both often grouped loosely under the heading of postmodernism.  This course will focus on more recent developments, with an eye to what might be happening next in American literature (maybe more postmodernism, maybe not); all texts are from the last twenty years.

For better or worse, the assigned texts are all works of fiction.  They have been selected not as a prediction of their immortality, but because they are interesting attempts at innovation or revision.  Some of these attempts come from established authors whose position in the literary canon seems secure already, and some are from younger authors who may or may not survive their moment.  We will seek to place these works in a variety of biographical, historical, critical or aesthetic contexts.  The main goal of this course is to find out what it means to read new American literature, which has not yet had its chance to pass the proverbial test of time, in a creative and responsible way.

Assignments

*Quizzes will be constant.

*Short essays will be written during the term.

*There will be either a final project or a final exam.

Attendance

Students will be allowed four absences.  Additional absences will damage the final grade; the more absences there are, the worse the damage will be.  If some absences are excused, the damage can be reduced but not erased.  Students should be aware that this policy is never altered, and that it has been the primary factor in drops and failures in previous terms.  Take this into consideration before deciding to register for the course.

Material

All titles listed below should be acquired for the course.  ISBN numbers are listed to help students acquire the right editions.

 

Junot Díaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

9781594483295

 

Jennifer Egan, A Visit From the Goon Squad

9780307477477

 

Louise Erdrich, The Round House

9780062065254

 

Jumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies

9780395927205

 

Tao Lin, Taipei

9780307950178

 

Toni Morrison, A Mercy

9780307276766

 

Joseph O’Neill, Netherland

9780307388773

 

María Amparo Escandón, Esperanza’s Box of Saints

9780684856148