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Sunday, June 26, 2011

My American Literature Course (Science Fiction = Well-Represented)

In case any of you were curious, the following is the final reading list for the Survey in American Literature course I begin teaching tomorrow.  I think the list is fairly diverse and incorporates a great deal of the important figures of American literature while avoiding all the stuff that would bore the hell out of me.  Feel free to provide any thoughts you might have in the comments.

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (1926)
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut (1969)
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman (1974)
Writing About Literature:  A Portable Guide by Janet Gardner

"War Brides" by Marion Craig Wentworth (1915)
"Mine Eyes Have Seen" by Alice Dunbar-Nelson (1918)

Short Stories
"The Comet" by W.E.B. Du Bois (1920)
"The Grave" by Katherine Anne Porter (1944)
"The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson (1948)
"Lost in the Funhouse" by John Barth (1967)
"The Artificial Nigger" by Flannery O'Connor (1955)
"Going to Meet the Man" by James Baldwin (1965)
"Advancing Luna--and Ida B. Wells" by Alice Walker (1977)
"Speech Sounds" by Octavia Butler (1983)
"The Lions Are Asleep This Night" by Howard Waldrop (1986)
"Thi Bong Dzu" by Larry Rottmann (1973)
"The First Clean Act" by Larry Heinemann (1979)
"Faith of Our Fathers" by Philip K. Dick (1967)
"Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut (1961)

“‘The Sun Also Rise’: A Memory of War” by William Adair
“’Slaughterhouse-Five’: Time Out of Joint” by Arnold Edelstein
“The Vietnam War as American Science Fiction and Fantasy” by H. Bruce Franklin

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  1. That's a great mix of people. I love the literary works you interspersed with the SF. Sounds like a class I'd be happy to take.

  2. That's because it is an awesome class. Admit it.

  3. If you or any of your students would be interested, I'm blogging about my experiences as Vonnegut's biographer at "Writing Kurt Vonnegut"


    Charles J. Shields
    And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut, A Life (Holt, November)

  4. I'll make sure to let them know and put it in the resources section for my course website. Thanks!

  5. whats the idea/theme behind the course?

  6. It's loosely based around literature that deals with war and social upheaval. But there isn't really a specific theme. It's a survey course.

  7. I would love this course. Sounds awesome. Harrison Bergeron still cracks me up and depresses me at the same time as Vonnegut tends to do.

  8. I'm going to show the adaptation (called 2081) in my class, because it's just as brilliant as the short story. Thanks for the comment, Seak!