20th Century American Literature

ENGL 3320—001

Room: PH 321

Time: T, TH 100-225

David Lavery | Texts | Class Members | Class Policies and Procedures | Course Requirements | Agenda | David Levine American Literature Caricatures | | Mid-Term Exam Study Sheet | Final Exam Study Sheet

Dr. David Lavery

Office: PH 372 | Office Hours M 500-600, T-Th 230-400 | E-mail: david.lavery@gmail.com | Office Phone/Voice-Mail: 615-898-5648 | Home Page: http://davidlavery.net

Dr. David Lavery is Professor of English at MTSU (1993- ), where he won the University's 2006 Distinguished Research Award. The author of over one hundred and fifty published essays, chapters, and reviews, he is author / co-author / editor / co-editor of over twenty books, including Joss Whedon, A Creative Portrait: From Buffy the Vampire Slayer to The Avengers, TV Goes to Hell: An Unofficial Road Map of Supernatural, The Essential Cult Television Reader, and The Essential Sopranos Reader. The co-convener of international conferences on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the work of Joss Whedon and on The Sopranos, co-founder of the Whedon Studies Association, and founding co-editor of the journals Slayage: The Online International Journal of Buffy Studies, Critical Studies in Television, and Series/Season/Show, he has lectured around the world on the subject of television (Australia, Turkey, the UK, Portugal, New Zealand, Ireland, Germany) and has been a guest/source for the BBC, NPR, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, The New York Times, A Folha de Sao Paulo (Brazil), Publica (Portugal), Information (Netherlands), AP, The Toronto Star, USA Today. From 2006-2008, he taught at Brunel University in London. In the Fall of 2013, he will become the Director of Graduate Studies in English.




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Class Members

Kai Bragg John Burton Elizabeth Carpenter Corey Cummings Trey French Lisa Haslbeck Scott Johnson Nelson Lumpkin Hannah Maulden Meagin Maddox Charles McCabe Mary Allison Raines Ryan Rehnborg Robin Rogers Greta Smith April Smyth Staci Tomlinson Nicole Ward Phillip Wennerstrom Matthew Zumwalt


Class Policies and Procedures

Class format: We will follow a lecture / discussion format during most class meetings. Manuscript form: All written assignments are to be submitted via the relevant D2L drop boxes. Please be sure to carefully edit and proofread your own work. Name the file with your own last name (for example: lavery.doc). Be sure to carefully edit and proofread your own work. Do not simply rely on your computer's spell checker. (Go here to read a poem that demonstrates the untrustworthiness of spell checkers.) A list of "Things to be Aware of" as you write your essays can be found here. Essay Evaluation: I will evaluate your essays using a grading scale which can be found here (PDF file, Acrobat Reader required). Reading assignments: You are responsible for having read the entirety of each assignment, including the editor's introduction to each work/author we are studying. Participation & involvement: Please come prepared for each day’s class. I encourage you to become an active participant in class discussion and to ask constructive and meaningful questions at all times—even when I appear to be "lecturing." Please do not save your best questions / comments for after class, as students so often do.  Attendance: Regular attendance is essential to the ongoing progress of the course. Two absences will be permitted. A third absence may result in the loss of a letter grade. A fourth absence may result in failure of the course. Inclement Weather Policy: Go here. Plagiarism / Cheating: The unacknowledged use of the words / ideas / insights / original research of another is, of course, prohibited. Do not assume that, like prominent historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Stephen Ambrose and journalist Fareed Zakaria, you may plagiarize without fear of punishment. Should I catch you plagiarizing, or cheating in any way, you will receive a grade of "0" on the assignment in question, the violation may be reported to University authorities, and you may fail the course, as several students in past semesters have done. Students with Disabilities: Any student with a disability will be given all the rights and privileges guaranteed under the Americans with Disabilities Act if he/she is registered with Disabled Student Services (call/contact John Harris, KUC 120/2783). University Writing Center: The University Writing Center, sponsored by the English Department and staffed by full-time and adjunct faculty and graduate teaching assistants, is located in PH 326. At the UWC you can get constructive help with a variety of writing problems, from pre-writing to organization to grammatical errors. (Please be aware, however, that the UWC does not do proofreading.) Grading Scale: 90-99%=A | 80-89%=B | 70-79%=C | 60-69%=D | 0-59%=F


Course Requirements

Essays: Two (2) essays.


Essay 1 (approximately 1,250 words in length): a critical, not-source-dependent reading of an individual work (poem, play, story, etc.) or two or more considered together. [20% of course grade]. | Sample student essay.

Essay 2 (approximately 2,000 words in length): a source paper investigating a writer, work, movement, school, etc. (your topic must be approved by me in advance). [40% of course grade].


Tests: Two in-class cognitive-memory tests (on authors, works, literary terms, schools, movements)—at mid-term and during finals week (see the Agenda for test dates). Each worth 20% of your grade.





Week 1

8/28/2012: Subject: Introduction to the Course: Thinking About America | Reading Assignment(s): Henry Adams, Selections from The Education of Henry Adams (C386), Frederick Jackson Turner (C1133), Black Elk Speaks (D 23), Thomas Pynchon, "Entropy" (723) | Power Points: Syllabus | Week 1

8/30/2012Subject: Realism and Naturalism | Reading Assignment(s): Henry James, "The Beast in the Jungle (C477) London, “To Build a Fire” (C1047); Edith Wharton, "Roman Fever" (C828); Upton Sinclair, The Jungle (C1110), Edgar Lee Masters (D36); Edwin Arlington Robinson (D40)


Week 2

9/4/2012—Subject: Realism and Naturalism (continued); Willa Cather, Gertrude Stein | Reading Assignment(s): Cather, "The Sculptor's Funeral" (D45); Stein (D197, D227)

9/6/2012—Subject: World War I | Reading Assignment(s): World War I & Its Aftermath (D214) | Power Point: Week 2


Week 3

9/11/2012—Subject: Robert Frost | Reading Assignment(s): Frost (D230) | Power Point: Robert Frost

9/13/2012—Subject: Wallace Stevens | Reading Assignment(s): Stevens (D281)| Power Point: Wallace Stevens | Lavery on Stevens: Feigning with the Strange Unlike (Stevens Website)

The Genius of the Sea

Imagination and Insurance

"In  a Single Man Contained" The More Than Rational Distortion

Week 4

9/18/2012—Subject: Susan Glaspell, Sherwood Anderson, Carl Sandburg | Reading Assignment(s): Glaspell, Trifles (D252), Anderson (D263) and "The Book of the Grotesque" (introduction to Winesburg, Ohio), Sandburg (D278) | Listen to an Audio Recording of Trifles | Power Points: Trifles | Anderson | Sandburg

9/20/2012—Subject: William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound | Reading Assignment(s): Williams (D302), Pound (D314) | Power Points: Pound | Williams


Week 5

9/25/2012: Subject: Modernism | Reading Assignment(s): Modernist Manifestos (D335); Dos Passos (D690) | Power Point: Modernism | Dos Passos

9/27/2012: No class


Week 6

10/2/2012: Subject: Marianne Moore | African American Writing | Reading Assignment(s): Moore (D357), W. E. B. DuBois (C883), James Weldon Johnson (C1009), Paul Dunbar (C1028), Claude McKay (D480), Zora Neale Hurston (D528), Jean Toomer (D646), Sterling Brown (D864), Countee Cullen (D892), Richard Wright (D898) | Power Points: Harlem Renaissance

10/4/2012—Subject: African American Writing (continued), Langston Hughes; Reading Assignment(s): Hughes (D869) | Power Points: Langston Hughes


Week 7

10/9/2012—Subject: T. S. Eliot | Reading Assignment(s): Eliot (D365) | Power Points: Eliot | Watch Tom and Viv on Hulu + | Netflix

10/11/2012—Subject: e. e. cummings | Reading Assignment(s): cummings (D636) | Power Points: cummings


Week 8

10/16/2012: Fall Break (no class)

10/18/2012—Subject: F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway | Reading Assignment(s): Fitzgerald (D658), Hemingway (D824) | Power Points: Fitzgerald | Hemingway | Watch The Snows of Kilimanjaro (Henry King, 1952) on YouTube | Mid-Term Exam


  Week 9

10/23/2012: Subject: William Faulkner | Reading Assignment(s): Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (D698) | Power Point: Faulkner

10/25/2012: Subject: Faulkner (continued)


Week 10

10/30/2012—Subject: Hart Crane | Reading Assignment(s): Crane (D812) | Power Point: Crane | Essay 1 Due

11/1/2012: Subject: Robert Penn Warren, Theodore Roethke, Elizabeth Bishop | Reading Assignment(s): Warren (E28), Roethke (E37), Bishop (E71) | Power Points: Warren | Roethke | Bishop


Week 11

11/6/2012: Subject: Tennessee Williams | Reading Assignment(s): Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire (E90) Power Point: Williams

11/8/2012: Subject: Streetcar (continued)


Week 12

11/13/2012: Subject: John Cheever, Bernard Malamud, Eudora Welty | Reading Assignment(s): Cheever, “The Swimmer” (E156), Malamud, “The Magic Barrel” (E193), Welty, "Petrified Man" (E52) | Power Point: Cheever/Malamud/Welty

11/15/2012: Subject: Ralph Ellison, Saul Bellow, Flannery O'Connor | Reading Assignment(s): Ellison, The Invisible Man (E206), Bellow, The Adventures of Augie March (E225), O'Connor, "Good Country People" (E445) | Power Points: Ellison | Bellow | O'Connor


Week 13

11/20/2012: Subject: Postmodernism | Reading Assignment(s): Postmodern Manifestoes (E400), Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (E372), Donald Barthelme (E603), Frank O'Hara (E506) | Power Points: Postmodernism | Barthelme | Vonnegut | O'Hara

11/22/2012: Thanksgiving (No Class)


Week 14

11/25/2012—Subject: Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton | Reading Assignment(s): Plath (E623), Sexton (E558) | Power Points: Plath

11/27/2012: Subject: Maxine Hong Kingston, Annie Dillard, Art Spiegelman | Reading Assignment(s): Kingston (E791), Dillard (E975), Spiegelman (E1057) | Annie Dillard's Letters to David Lavery | Power Points: New Journalism | Kingston | Dillard | Spiegelman

Week 15

12/4/2012—Subject: Billy Collins, Mary Oliver, Gary Snyder, Sherman Alexie | Reading Assignment(s): Collins (E829), Oliver (E698), Snyder (E596), Alexie (E1207) | Gary Snyder on Poetry and Ecology (YouTube) | Collins Reads His Poetry | "Nostalgia" | "Osso Buco" [the dish] | "Questions About Angels" [video] | "Litany" [video | a 3 year old recites "Litany"] | "Building with Its Face Blown Off" [video] | Power Points: Collins | Oliver | Snyder | Alexie


12/7/2012: Essay 2 due by noon.


Final Exam Week12/7-13/2012: Our in-class final will be on Thursday, 12/13/12, 100-300 pm