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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Heyang Julie Kae
ENGL 213
Seattle Campus

Modern and Postmodern Literature

Introduces twentieth-century literature and contemporary literature, focusing on representative works that illustrate literary and intellectual developments since 1900.

Class description

Whose (post)modernism? This section of ENGL213 will focus on novels, short stories and poetry to ask how the aesthetic and intellectual claims of modernism and postmodernism have affected U.S. literary production. In equal measure, we will ask how these examples of literary production affect our understanding of modernism and postmodernism as codifying reading practices. Put differently, as we explore how these texts engage with, calcify, and/or challenge modernist and postmodernist concerns, we will also ask how these texts read ‘modernity’ and/or ‘postmodernity’. While we think about the formal and thematic aspects of these works, be prepared to delve into some challenging discussions about how these texts articulate perspectives of capitalism, nation, citizenship, race, class and sex. By the conclusion, we will posit the question that announces this course in order to think about the possibilities and limitations of these “ –isms” and whom claims of modernity and postmodernity benefit and ignore. Other questions we may consider include: Is ‘modernisms’ a more apt term to describe the different literary strands that have emerged over the last century? What are the stakes of adopting such a term? Is the ‘post’ a dubious or salient qualifier? What does one gain by focusing on this literature in relation to other examples of cultural production?

In addition to the novels listed below, a require course packet will include selections by Walt Whitman, John dos Passos, Gertrude Stein, H.D., William Carlos Williams, Langston Hughes, Robert Creeley, Norman Mailer, Donald Barthelme, Toni Morrison, Jessica Hagedorn and Paul Beatty.

Required texts include: Autobiography of an Ex-colored Man by James Wheldon Johnson (ISBN-0-14-018402-3) As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (ISBN 0-679-73225) On the Road by Jack Kerouac (ISBN 0142437255) No-No Boy by John Okada (ISBN 0295955252) Corrigedora by Gayl Jones (ISBN 0-8070-6315-0)

Course Packet including short stories, poetry and supplementary articles (will be available for purchase at Ave Copy)

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Class discussion, group work and student presentations

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Short critical response/close reading papers, student led discussion, midterm, final paper


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Heyang Julie Kae
Date: 10/21/2007