The American West in Literature

Course Dates: 10/06/22 - 29/07/22
Time: 10:15 - 12:15
Location: Keeley Street
This class examines the literary history of the American West, delving into its iconic representation in literature from the 19th century to the present day. By looking at an exciting range of texts, the class explores literature’s longstanding and ongoing fascination with the culture, politics, and art of the American West.
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Full fee £129.00 Senior fee £129.00 Concession £79.00

Course Code: HLT65

Fri, day, 10 Jun - 29 Jul '22

Duration: 8 sessions (over 8 weeks)

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

The course explores the image of the American West in literature, examining the ways in which major writers have treated the subjects of the frontier, American Indian culture, national development, violence, the environment, race, and gender. Through a detailed look at a range of influential authors, the course examines how the West continues to allow America and the world to project and reflect on its own experience.

What will we cover?

Topics covered will include the development of the American West in the 19th and 20th centuries, violence and race in American history, the transformation of the West in literature, and the ongoing fascination with the history of the West in American, but also global culture. We will examine classic novels of the West, such as Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian (1985) alongside acclaimed works such as Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony (1977).

Texts: Mark Twain, Roughing It (1872); John Williams, Butcher’s Crossing (1960); Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony (1977); Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian (1985).

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

• Have developed their literary, cinematic, historical, and cultural knowledge and expression, through varied reading on the American West in literature.
• Students should develop understanding of key literary works on the American West, and a knowledge of the main thematic, historical, literary and political contexts of the West in literature.

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

All levels are welcome. No particular skills are needed other than an interest in literature, reading and discussion.

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

The class will be held over eight weeks. The first half hour will be an interactive talk on the text, writer, themes and contexts. The following hour will be a round table and small group discussion of the texts in detail.

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

Texts to borrow or buy:
Mark Twain, Roughing It (1872)
John Williams, Butcher’s Crossing (1960)
Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony (1977)
Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian (1985).

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

Have a look at other Fiction courses at under history, culture & writing/literature/fiction.

Richard Niland

Richard Niland has published widely on Joseph Conrad and a range of other 19th and 20th century writers. He taught for many years at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow and is interested in the various intersections of literature, culture, politics, music and film in different global contexts.

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.