American Literature 1914-present


Course Objective

Upon successfully completing this course, students will:

• Explain how and why social, cultural, and political changes in
American society gave rise to new forms of literature;
• Examine a text of their own choosing and execute a deep, critical
analysis with the help of the critical theory we have discussed in
• Demonstrate their ability to read and write critically, clearly, and

Course Content

Over the course of the twentieth century, American society changed
tremendously. These changes are reflected in both the themes and styles
of the literatures of this time. The course is organized chronologically
and clustered around three main themes, reflecting three major changes
in American literature: modernism, the culture wars, and postmodernism.
By looking at the works of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction produced
during this time, we will try to find an answer to what American
literature is, what the shifts in styles and themes can tell us about
American society, and what it might tell us about the direction in which
American literature is headed now, at the beginning of the 21st century.
Writing will be an important component of this course.

Teaching Methods

Seminar meetings, 6 hours per week.

Method of Assessment

Participation (30%); Portfolio, including final essay (70%). The
portfolio must receive a final grade of at least 5.5 to pass. The
grading procedure will be explained during the first class period.

Entry Requirements

Students must have taken part in one of three modules: (1) “Literature,
Culture, and Society”; (2) “Introduction to American Studies”; or (3)
Social History of the United States.


The texts to be read will be announced in the course syllabus on Canvas
ahead of the course.

Target Audience

This course is part of the Bachelor's program English: Literature and
Society, and of the minor package American Studies.

Additional Information

The level of English in this course is high. This is a discussion-based
course, so attendance is important. If you miss more than 3 classes, you
will fail the course. Exceptions may be made in grave personal
circumstances. Make sure to inform both your lecturer and the student
advisor in such cases.

Custom Course Registration

There is a slightly different enrollment procedure for this module. The standard procedure of the Faculty of Humanities has students sign up for (i) the module, (ii) the form of tuition (lecture and/or preferred seminar group), and (iii) the exam. However, for this module the instructor will assign the students to the seminar groups. Therefore, students should sign up for (i) the module and (iii) the exam, but not for (ii) the seminar groups.

General Information

Course Code L_ELBALES211
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 200
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator dr. B. Brink
Examiner dr. B. Brink
Teaching Staff dr. B. Brink

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar
Target audiences

This course is also available as: