This course is a survey of American literature over the last century, beginning with the Modernist period and the first World War. Through readings of fiction, poetry, drama, and essays, students will be introduced to major authors and significant movements in American literary history. Authors will be selected from a variety of cultural traditions in the United States. As the course moves into later readings, there will be a consideration of how individual authors respond to and diverge from the traditions and influence of those who came before. Throughout, the identification of what is specifically “American” about American literature will be a central focus. (3 credits)
- ENG 101: English Composition 1
- ENG 102: English Composition 2
- U.S. History course (Recommended)
Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)
Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:
- Read American literature carefully and demonstrate comprehension through identification of and commentary on details, tone, audience, distinguishing features and cultural assumptions.
- Identify, describe and compare the characteristics and dominant themes of major movements and schools within American literature since 1900 and of significant authors in that time.
- Identify the contributions made to American literature by women and discuss this work in the context of specific social and cultural contexts.
- Identify the contributions made to American literature by members of a variety of cultural traditions and discuss this work in the context of specific social and cultural contexts.
- Respond to prompts in written English that is clear and mechanically sound.
- Synthesize original arguments about the meaning and form of literary texts supported with evidence from the readings and supplementary research.
- Draw conclusions about American literature, culture and history from the readings.
- Reflect on and revise previous assumptions about American literature and history.
- Access, evaluate and employ research sources for literary study.
- Compare and contrast texts by different authors and from different points in American literary history to draw original conclusions about theme, focus, tone, voice and other literary qualities.
General Education Outcomes (GEOs)
Please check the applicable GEOs for this course, if any, by outcomes at GEO Category Search, or by subject area at GEO Discipline Search.
Course Activities and Grading
Discussions (Weeks 1-8)
|Response Papers (Weeks 1-6)|
Research Paper (Week 7)
Final Exam (Week 8)
Available through Charter Oak State College's online bookstore
- Levine, Robert S. (2022). The Norton Anthology of American Literature. 10th ed. Volumes C, D & E. W.W. Norton & Co. ISBN-13: 978-0-393-88443-2
Note: This package is less expensive than purchasing two individual volumes. Although no readings from Volume C are explicitly assigned in this class, you are encouraged to use selections from the text to provide additional context and comparisons in your discussions and writing assignments. Feel free to contact your instructor with questions about this.
Readings and Exercises
Topic: Modernist American Poetry
Topic: Modernist American Fiction
Topics: The Harlem Renaissance and African-American Voices
Topic: An Overview of Postwar American Poetry
Topic: American Drama
Topic: African-American Fiction
Topic: More Contemporary Fiction
Topic: Postmodern American Narratives
COSC Accessibility Statement
Charter Oak State College encourages students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Services at OAS@charteroak.edu.
COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources
Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.