ENGL204 - American Writing
Professionals working in the field of literary studies acknowledge that the American literary output has been a dominant cultural force since the early twentieth century, in both its textual forms and screen adaptations. A competency in fields founded in literary and cultural studies requires an understanding of this distinctive, diverse and vibrant tradition. This unit presents students with a broad range of literature from the United States, together with analysis of some of the enduring preoccupations of American writing, which are situated in their historical and cultural contexts. Key concerns in American culture such as the position of First Nations peoples, slavery, the role of women and inequalities in wealth and opportunity are seen to emerge in a variety of literary forms in different periods. Applying close reading skills to a selection of texts, students will learn how the American drive to experiment led to striking innovations in genre and form. The aim of this unit is to examine these new forms and their evolution to encompass vigorous cultural debates, in order to supply a crucial element of students’ developing professional competency.