Contemporary American literature

Course Dates: 11/06/20 - 16/07/20
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
Location: Online

Explore how writers of the American literary scene voice the concerns of modern society, reflecting the dreams and aspirations of the contemporary American character. Journey through 'An American Marriage' by Tayari Jones, 'A Gate at the Stairs' by Lorrie Moore and 'On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous' by Ocean Vuong.

This course will be delivered online. See the ‘How will I be taught’ section in course details for more information.

Description

What is the course about?

An exploration of some recent works of fiction in contemporary American literature, considering the authors and their writing within their social and cultural context.

Biographical information:
Patricia Sweeney is Programme Coordinator for Literature and Film at City Lit, with specialist teaching interests in modern and contemporary literature, drama and film adaptation. In addition to her work at City Lit, Patricia has taught literature courses for the Open University and Literature, Drama and Film courses for Birkbeck, University of London.

What will we cover?

We will consider the social and cultural concerns that are producing a vibrant fictional landscape as well as exploring narrative structure, character and language in the selected texts.

We will be reading and exploring three novels by authors who have made an impact on the current American literary scene:

'A Gate at the Stairs' by Lorrie Moore (Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2010)
'Hilarious and distressing, entertaining and wise…Moore is one of the very best American writers working today.' Roddy Doyle

'An American Marriage' by Tayari Jones (winner of the 2019 Women's Prize for fiction).
'It is a story of love, loss and loyalty, the resilience of the human spirit painted on a big political canvas that shines a light on today's America… the prose is luminous, striking and utterly moving.'
(Prof. Kate Williams, Chair of Judges, The Women's Prize for Fiction)

'On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous' by Ocean Vuong (Winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize for poetry, Vuong's writings have been published in the Atlantic, Harper's, the Nation, New Republic and the New Yorker.)
'Luminous, shattering, urgent, necessary. But the word I keep circling back to is raw: that's how powerful the emotions here are.' Celeste Ng.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

-Extend your reading of contemporary American fiction
-Recognise and respond to the works of the writers
-Evaluate and discuss the work in a more informed manner
-Identify the works of important American fiction in the new millennium.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

You will need an enthusiasm for reading and discussing a range of texts in large and small groups.
You will be willing and able to do some reading and preparation outside the class.
You will be interested in listening to, and learning from, the responses of other students to the work discussed.
You will have a commitment to developing your analytical skills.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

A mixture of lecture, discussion, reading and group work. There will be reading homework each week.

This course will be delivered online, and will involve tutor presentation and class discussion. Student preparation and homework outside class times is strongly encouraged. To fully participate in this online class you will need:
- An email address
- A reliable internet connection
- A computer/laptop/tablet with a fully updated browser (preferably google chrome). Your device will need a microphone, and preferably a camera.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

-Bring pen and paper.
-Please buy or borrow:
'An American Marriage' (2018) by Tayari Jones (Oneworld Publications, 2019)
'A Gate at the Stairs' by Lorrie Moore (Faber & Faber, 2009, 2010)
'On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous' by Ocean Vuong (Jonathan Cape, 2019) available in paperback in May 2020.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Have a look at all our Literature courses in History, Culture and Writing on www.citylit.ac.uk or under Humanities in the prospectus.

Reviews

Customer Reviews 8 item(s)

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Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

Like all courses what you get out is a function of what you put in.
Course Rating
Review by Anon / (Posted on 05/07/2019)
I highly recommend it!
Course Rating
Review by Eduardo / (Posted on 04/07/2019)
A lovey group, and good interaction with the lecturer. The reading list and the material studied greatly expanded my knowledge of the genre, and I am taking a follow up course next term as a result.
Course Rating
Review by Geoffrey / (Posted on 11/11/2016)
[The tutor] is famous for her handouts - quality and quantity!
Course Rating
Review by Old fussy / (Posted on 11/11/2016)
Excellent group and lecturer was fabulous. Great introduction to the genre and very high level discussions. Highly Recommended.
Course Rating
Review by Susi / (Posted on 11/11/2016)
Excellent group and lecturer was fabulous. Great introduction to the genre and very high level discussions. Highly Recommended.
Course Rating
Review by Susi / (Posted on 20/07/2015)
[The tutor] is famous for her handouts - quality and quantity!
Course Rating
Review by Old fussy / (Posted on 09/07/2015)
A lovey group, and good interaction with the lecturer. The reading list and the material studied greatly expanded my knowledge of the genre, and I am taking a follow up course next term as a result.
Course Rating
Review by Geoffrey / (Posted on 09/07/2015)
Tutor Biographies
Patricia Sweeney

Patricia Sweeney is Programme Coordinator for Literature and Film at City Lit, with specialist teaching interests in American cultural studies, modern and contemporary literature, drama and film adaptation. In addition to her work at City Lit, Patricia has taught literature courses for the Open University and Literature, Drama and Film courses for Birkbeck, University of London.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

Sorry, this course is now full

Course Code: HLT55

Full Thu, eve, 11 Jun - 16 Jul '20

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)

Full fee: £89.00
Senior fee: £89.00
Concession: £39.00

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.