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ENGLISH LITERATURE (L14)  (Dept. Info)Arts & Sciences  (Policies)SP2017

L14 E Lit 316Topics in American Literature: Tales of New York: Writing the Capital of the Twentieth Century3.0 Units
Description:Groucho Marx, the slapstick comedian and distinguished analytical philosopher, once observed that "practically everybody in New York has half a mind to write a book--and does." Marx may have been exaggerating (slightly) for comic effect, but it's a fact that New York City flourished as the literary capital of the U.S. during the twentieth century. Despite the heyday of the MFA "program era," the city arguably qualifies as the national headquarters of American writing even today. This class will explore a surprisingly understudied feature of New York's centrality to modern American literature: the appearance of wave after wave of captivating books picturing Manhattan and its fellow boroughs as the focal point and limit case of American identity. We'll begin with two famous novels from 1925 that cast Jazz Age New York as an alluring and fatal pilgrimage site: F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" and John Dos Passos's "Manhattan Transfer." We'll then turn to less familiar New York-set texts from the Depression 1930s (Henry Roth's "Call It Sleep," Dawn Powell's "Turn, Magic Wheel"); from the uneasy post-World War II pinnacle of American power (Ann Petry's "The Street," E. B. White's "Here Is New York"); from the lost world of interracial bohemianism in the early 1960s (Frank O'Hara's "Lunch Poems," Amiri Baraka's "Dutchman"); and, finally, from our own twenty-first century, systematically nostalgic for the gritty and inflamed New York City of the 1970s (Rachel Kushner's "The Flamethrowers," Will Hermes's "Love Goes to Buildings on Fire"). Satisfies the Twentieth Century and later requirement.
Instruction Type:Classroom instruction Grade Options:CPA Fees:
Course Type:HomeSame As:L98 3162Frequency:None / History


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