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Spring 2021 Reading Group

Identity in American Literature of the 1940s

Prerequisites: None

Exam Type: No exam

Much American literature of the 1940s is concerned with issues of identity that resonate across the decades – race, gender, relationship of individuals to groups that help define them. Yet there are variations on these themes that may not be so familiar and that may give some new perspective on contemporary perceptions of identity in society. We will read novels by six writers – three still well-known today (William Faulkner, Carson McCullers, and Richard Wright), and three considerably less so (John Horne Burns, Ann Petry, and Isaac Rosenfeld) – to explore some of these themes. Each student will be asked to give some introductory comments at one session to help begin the discussion of the novel assigned for that day.

Note: This reading group will meet on the following dates: January 27, February 10, February 24, March 10, March 31, and April 14.