This survey-oriented course focuses on American literature from the 1950s to the present within the context of the dramatic political and cultural changes that have shaped contemporary American culture, such as the Cold War, Vietnam, the Civil Rights movement, feminism and multiculturalism. Like its modernist predecessor (ENG 4540), it ranges across genres and media to survey various emergent traditions and tendencies in contemporary and postmodern U.S. letters. As such, any course on an almost 70-year time span of bustling literary activity cannot be but punctual and eclectic; it certainly does not presume to be inclusive, opting instead (by default, one might say) for "representative" samples that serve to illustrate certain literary and cultural developments.
Yet, one thing is for sure: you will be exposed to a daring and dazzling, brilliant and befuddling, perplexing and puzzling array of writers. Welcome and enjoy!
- Please check CAL PAL regularly for useful links to contemporary American literature sites, as you prepare for class and research your interests. Many of these sites contain numerous other links. You might also find the (rather skeletal) Theory PAL useful on occasion. — As you find additional sites we should all know about, please let us know