Teaching SS 07
A Cultural History of U.S.-American Fiction: The Emergence of Multiculturality (from the 1940s to the 1970s)
Thursday, 15:00-17:00, (anrechenbar als K 524/K 531/K 532)
After having achieved global recognition in the 1920s and 30s, American writers were awarded several Nobel Prizes (Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, and later, John Steinbeck). The following decades saw the emergence of many ethnic and regional fictions which need to be put into their literary, cultural, social and political contexts. Among the books to be considered in this lecture course will be Jewish American fiction by Bernard Malamud (The Assistant, and some short stories) and Saul Bellow (excerpts from The Adventures of Augie March, and from Herzog), African American fiction (Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man, excerpts from Ernest Gaines, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, and from Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon), Native American fiction (F. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn). Novels reflecting the mainstream and set in the urban northeast (such as J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, or fiction by John Updike), and fiction from the American South also attracted much attention (We shall discuss, for instance, excerpts from Carson McCullers, The Member of the Wedding, and some stories by Flannery O’Connor). The course will also briefly consider early avant-garde and post-modernist fiction, analyzing excerpts from Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire and Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49.
The following texts should be purchased ahead of time:
Bernard Malamud, The Assistant (Farrar, Straus, Giroux)
Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (Penguin Modern Classics)
F. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn (Harper Collins).
Fictions of the Pacific Rim
Wed 10-12, Unterrichtsraum (ab 14.3.) (anrechenbar für ein Literaturmodul und als K531/32)
This interactive course will focus on fictional texts produced on the North American part of the Pacific Rim. It will examine, for instance, novels by Ethel Wilson (Swamp Angel), Sheila Watson (The Double Hook), and Jack Hodgins (The Invention of the World, and/or The Resurrection of Joseph Bourne), as well as short fiction by temporary residents of that region, like Malcolm Lowry, and excerpts from experimental texts, such as George Bowering, Burning Water. It will also address the indigenous presence in “Cascadia”, a recently adopted name for that transnational region (for instance, O. Hagan, Tay John and prose by Jeannette Armstrong), and fiction reflecting the ethnic experience (for instance, Fred Wah, Diamond Grill). The ecological concerns aired by authors in that region will also be considered (for instance, Ernest Callenbach, Ecotopia).
Participants in the course will be invited to make a brief oral presentation and to take a written essay exam at the end of the semester.
Literary Seminar: "The Transatlantic Exchange and the ‘International Novel’"
Tuesday, 16:00-18:00, Room 5, 322/821; (K 521, 522)
Since the late 1860s American fiction writers repeatedly juxtaposed the manners and morals of their compatriots and of Europeans as American tourists crossed the Atlantic in increasing numbers, following in the wake of painters and sculptors who had preceded them and had settled in the artistic capitals Rome and Florence, and came to know European cultural centers such as Paris.
The international theme chosen by Henry James is dealt with in short fiction and novels such as The American and The Portrait of a Lady, his first major achievement, developed an interest implied in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Marble Faun.
In the seminar these three novels will be discussed and the perception and literary representation of European settings, the different conceptions of culture, manners and lifestyles, and their symbolic functions will be analyzed.
Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady (Penguin Classics)
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Marble Faun (Penguin Classics)
Henry James, The American (Penguin Classics)
Paperback editions of these texts can be purchased,