American Literature

The American Literature concentration trains students to apply a critical eye to their own national traditions, and to enrich their knowledge of American literature and literary history.   The concentration helps students to deepen and complicate their understanding of familiar texts like Walden, The Great Gatsby, or Invisible Man, to introduce them to new or understudied works, and to situate their reading in various intellectual, cultural, and sociopolitical contexts.   For example, in recent courses students have examined the roots of the Gothic in American culture, analyzed the image of the Holocaust survivor in postwar fiction, and learned about connections between the African American poetic tradition and popular musical forms.