EN1TCL-Twentieth-Century American Literature

Module Provider: English Literature
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Prof David Brauner

Email: d.brauner@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
Summary module description: Twentieth-Century American Literature presents students with a challenging range of work, bringing together canonical texts with the less familiar; engaging with work by white and African-American writers; and covering a number of genres and sub-genres, from poetry, the short story and drama, to crime fiction. Students will develop their skills in the close reading of literary texts; they will acquire and demonstrate an ability to respond to shifts in modes, styles, and preoccupations across the period; they will learn about and begin to debate ideas of cultural, ethnic, class and racial difference in relation to the US national identities.

Aims: This module aims to confirm and extend the student’s ability to discuss complex literary texts and ideas, especially in relation to the forms, traditions, and contexts of the United States in the twentieth century.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Assessable learning outcomes: By the end of the module students will be expected to: • exercise critical skills of close textual analysis • show an ability to debate competing images and ideas of literature and nation • produce accurate critical discourses in coursework essays and under timed examination conditions • demonstrate skill in researching and engaging with a critical field

Additional outcomes:
Additional outcomes: Oral and written communication skills will be developed, together with critical, interpretative and analytical abilities. Students will also enhance their IT competence through the use of relevant web resources in a critically informed manner.

Outline content:
Outline content: The module spans a number of key modes and canons, which may include the ruralist poetic vision of Frost; the “high modernist” lyrics of Stevens and Williams; innovations in short fiction by Fitzgerald and Hemingway; African-American dialect fiction by Zora Neale Hurston; the immured complexities of the South in the work of William Faulkner; the bleak territory of crime fiction in Dashiell Hammett; sexual and class politics in drama by Hellman and Odets; the retrospective pastoralism of Laura Ingalls Wilder; a fiercely sophisticated epic of black social and cultural awareness in a novel by Ralph Ellison; the alternative visions of the “beats,” Ginsberg and Kerouac; and the astringent confessionalism of Sylvia Plath. The content is given added cohesion for being organised into two parts: the Autumn Term lectures emphasise formalist considerations under the heading of “The Experimental Nation,” while the Spring Term lectures open out more fully to social questions, under the heading, “Conformism and Counter-Culture.”

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Brief description of teaching and learning methods: A combination of lectures and structured seminar discussion. All seminars will require preparatory reading, and, on occasion, the drafting of responses to questions from the tutor.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10 10 2
Seminars 9 10 2
Practicals classes and workshops 2
Guided independent study 51 50 54
Total hours by term 70.00 70.00 60.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:
2 hours.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
Summative Assessment Methods (%) - work which always contributes towards the overall module mark:

Formative assessment methods:
Formative assessment methods: A short exercise in the Autumn term (1000 words) and an essay of up to 1500 words in the Spring term. Feedback on written exams will be available on request from the Director of Teaching and Learning.

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission: Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. The following penalties will be applied to coursework which is submitted after the deadline for submission:
·where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
·where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

(Please refer to the Undergraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guideUG.aspx)

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of at least 40% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:
Re-examination in August. Coursework will be carried forward if it bears a confirmed mark of 40% or more. Otherwise it must be resubmitted by 22nd August.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 18 September 2018


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