Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG365H1S L5101

ENG365H1S   L5101   M6-9
Contemporary American Fiction
Instructor: Prof. M. Cobb

Office Location: University College, Room 243

Brief Description of Course: The story of contemporary American literature is also the story of the flourishing of multicultural writing. So in this course, we'll explore just how diversified the canon became in the years after World War II as the United States rose to super-power status politically, militarily, and culturally in the second half of the twentieth century. Among many questions, we'll wonder why literary writing became such a richly expressive place to interrogate what it means to unevenly belong to a country that was becoming an empire at the same moment its diverse citizenry was (and is) struggling for the representation, rights, and equality that the American idea has always promised.

Required Reading:
Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man
James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room
Flannery O'Connor, Wise Blood
Norman Mailer, The Executioner's Song
Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Dictée
Toni Morrison, Beloved
Anne Carson, Autobiography of Red
Rattawut Lapcharoensap, Sightseeing
Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Alison Bechdel, Fun Home

First Three Authors/Texts: Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man; James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room; Flannery O'Connor, Wise Blood.

Method of Evaluation: Two papers (one short and one long), class participation, and a term test.

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