American literature

2014-09-25T10:11:58Z (GMT) by Brian Jarvis Andrew Dix
‘Diversity’ is one of the keywords in American mythology and although respect for the nation’s phenomenal differences has often been more evident in political rhetoric than historical reality, the past thirty years have witnessed increasing pluralism on American literature courses. This development includes courses organised by period (from centuries to specific decades, from ‘the Colonial Era’ to ‘Romanticism’, ‘Modernism’ and ‘Postmodernism’), by race and ethnicity (Native American and African-American, Latino and Chicano, Jewish and Irish), by gender and sexuality (women’s writing, gay and lesbian literature), by geography (‘the South’ and ‘the West’, ‘the City’ and ‘the Frontier’), by theme (‘the American Dream’ and ‘Exceptionalism’), by form and genre (‘the Novel’, ‘Poetry’ and ‘Drama’, ‘the Gothic’ and ‘Prison Writing’), by school (‘The Transcendentalists’ and ‘the Wooster Group’), by specific writer and by interdisciplinary combination (‘Noir Film and Fiction’, or ‘the Literature, Music and Movies of Vietnam’). This bibliographical essay could not hope to prepare you for every type of course, but it will aim to provide important leads for the most popular writers and subjects in this increasingly vast and variegated field.