English 4665/5665: American Literature from 1920 to the Present, Fall 2010

Section 01 (CRN 20868/20869): TR 3:30-4:45PM, Arts & Sciences 368


Professor: Dr. Alex E. Blazer



Phone: 478.445.0964


Office: Arts & Sciences 330

Office Hours:

MW 5:00-5:30 A&S 330,

T 1:00-1:50 A&S 330,

R 12:30-1:30 Blackbird, by appt


Course Description


The undergraduate course catalog describes English 4665 as "A study of selected American works from 1920 to the present, emphasizing literary modernism and post-modernism." This course's Academic Assessment page describes our topics:

as well as course outcomes:

In this particular section, we will read modernist poetry by Eliot, Stevens, and the Imagists; fiction by Faulkner, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald; a Harlem Renaissance novel by Larsen; and expressionistic plays by Rice and Treadwell. For postmodernism, we will read books of poetry (Ashbery and Armantrout), short plays by Albee, Owens, Shepard, Baracka, and Wolfe; short stories by Coover, Tillman, Daitch, and Pynchon; and avant-garde, experimental novels by Acker and Danielewski. Undergraduate students will write a literary biography, a short paper, a research paper, and two exams; graduate students will give a presentation, take two exams, and write a research paper. This course counts towards area 1.B in the major program for a B.A. in English, Literature Concentration, and area 3.B in the major program for a B.A. in English, Creative Writing Concentration. This course's prerequisite is ENGL 2110 or IDST 2305, or permission of the instructor.


Course Materials


required (GCSU Bookstore or

Acker, Don Quixote: A Novel

Ashbery, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror

Armantrout, Versed

Danielewski, Only Revolutions

Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!

Larsen, Quicksand

Rice, The Adding Machine

Treadwell, Machinal

Wolfe, The Colored Museum

required (online)

various stories and articles

recommended (GCSU Bookstore or

Gibaldi, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed.


Assignments and Grade Distribution


4665 Undergraduate Students


literary biography, 5%

You will write a 3-4 page literary biography explaining the general issues and themes of a writer's opus as well as posing particular questions for class discussion.

short paper, 20%

You will write a 4-5 page short paper analyzing a key issue or theme in a single work of literature.

in class exam, 25%

You will take an in class exam comparing and contrasting ideas in the work of modernist authorts.

research paper, 25%

You will write an 8-10 page research paper exploring a key issue or theme in a single work of literature.

take home exam, 25%

You will write a take home exam comparing and contrasting ideas in the work of postmodernist authors. Here's how to calculate your final grade.


5665 Graduate Students


presentation, 10%

You will give a presentation to the class that explains either a critical article on the work of literature we're reading or a theoretical article about modernism or postmodernism.

research paper, 30%

You will write a 15-20 page research paper exploring a key issue or theme in a single work of literature.

two take home exams, 30% each

You will write a 10-12 page take home exam comparing and contrasting ideas in the work of modernist authors as well as a 10-12 page take home exam comparing and contrasting ideas in the work of postmodernist authors. Here's how to calculate your final grade.


Course Policies


Class Preparation and Participation

I expect you to come to class having read, annotated, and reviewed the assigned reading. Moreover, you should prepare at least two comments and two questions for each reading. We're going to be working with challenging texts; therefore, we'll all benefit from sharing our ideas and questions. If I feel that you're not participating because you're not keeping up with the reading, I will give a pop quiz.

Office Hours and Email

I encourage you to stop by my office hours to discuss any aspect of the course, of literature. I'm happy to answer minor questions such as due dates over email, but I prefer face-to-face conversations for more substantive topics like papers and exams. Please use email etiquette.


The syllabus is available at We will be using GeorgiaVIEW and TurnItIn for assignments. It is your responsibility to learn GeorgiaView and TurnItIn. Check your university email for course-related messages. I suggest using a a free cloud computing service such as Dropbox, Live Mesh, or Mozy to save your work-in-progress. Students who text and web surf in class will be marked absent.


There will be a one letter final grade deduction for every absence beyond three days. Therefore, missing four class periods will result in a one letter final grade deduction and missing seven classes will result in automatic failure of the course. I suggest you use your three days both cautiously and wisely; and make sure you sign the attendance sheets. Habitual tardies, consistently leaving class early, texting, and surfing the internet will be treated as absences. Excuses like work, family, and scheduled doctor's appointments will be declined. The only acceptable excuses are death in one's immediate family and one's own medical emergency. If you participate in an extracurricular activity that you anticipate will cause you to miss class, I suggest you switch sections now. You can check your attendance online by looking for your course number and the last four digits of your student identification number.

MLA Style

Formal assignments should adhere to the Modern Language Association (MLA) style. Formal papers and take-home exams require MLA style while in-class exams; discussion board responses, informal writing, and peer review may be informally formatted. One-third of a letter grade will be deducted from a formal paper or take-home exam for problems in each of the following three categories, for a possible one letter grade deduction total: 1) header, heading, and title, 2) margins, font, and line-spacing, and 3) quotation and citation format. Before you turn in a formal paper, make sure your work follows MLA style by using the checklist on the MLA style handout. I encourage students to use my MS Word template.

Late Assignments

There will be a one letter assignment grade deduction per day (not class period) for any assignment that is turned in late. I sparingly give short extensions if you request one for a valid need at least one day before the assignment is due. I will inform you via email if I cannot open an electronically submitted assignment; however, your assignment will be considered late until you submit it in a file I can open. Failing to submit an assignment that is worth 15% or more of the course grade within five days (not class periods) of its due date will result in automatic failure of the course. Failing to submit a final exam or final paper within two days of its due date will result in automatic failure of the course.

Length Requirements

A formal paper or take-home exam will be penalized one-third of a letter grade if it does not end at least halfway down on the minimum page length while implementing 12 pt Times New Roman font, double-spacing, and 1" margins. Each additional page short of the minimum requirement will result in an a one-third letter grade penalty.


Do not do it. The Honor Code defines plagiarism as "presenting as one's own work the words or ideas of an author or fellow student. Students should document quotes through quotation marks and footnotes or other accepted citation methods. Ignorance of these rules concerning plagiarism is not an excuse. When in doubt, students should seek clarification from the professor who made the assignment." Section 3.01 of the Academic Affairs Handbook elaborates other examples of academic dishonesty and outlines disciplinary procedures and appeals for academic misconduct. Submitting the same paper in two different courses constitutes academic dishonesty. As plagiarism is not tolerated at GCSU, any student found guilty of willful plagiarism or dishonesty will fail the assignment and the course. Students must submit all formal papers to

Failure of the Course

There are three ways to fail the course: 1) failing to regularly attend class, 2) plagiarizing, 3) failing an assignment that is worth 15% or more of the course grade, be it from poor quality, lateness of submission, or a combination of poor quality and lateness. By contrast, students who regularly attend class, complete their work with academic integrity, and submit assignments on time will pass the course.


The last day to add a course is Wednesday, August 18. The last day to drop a course without fee penalty is Friday, August 20. The last day to withdraw from all courses without academic penalty (unless previously assigned an F by professor for absences) is Thursday, October 14.

Assistance for Student Needs Related to Disability

If you have a disability as described by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, you may be eligible to receive accommodations to assist in programmatic and physical accessibility.  Disability Services, a unit of the GCSU Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, can assist you in formulating a reasonable accommodation plan and in providing support in developing appropriate accommodations to ensure equal access to all GCSU programs and facilities. Course requirements will not be waived, but accommodations may assist you in meeting the requirements.  For documentation requirements and for additional information, we recommend that you contact Disability Services located in Maxwell Student Union at 478-445-5931 or 478-445-4233.

The Writing Center

The Writing Center is a free service available to all members of the university community. Consultants assist writers in the writing process, from conception and organization of compositions to revision to documentation of research. Located in Lanier Hall 209, the Center is open Monday through Friday. Call 445-3370 or email for more information.

Fire Drills

Fire drills will be conducted during the semester.  In the event of a fire alarm signal, students will exit the building in a quick and orderly manner through the nearest hallway exit.  Learn the floor plan and exits of the A & S Building.  Do not use elevators.  Crawl on the floor if you encounter heavy smoke.  Assist disabled persons and others if possible without endangering your own life.  Assemble for a head count on front lawn main campus.


Course Schedule


This schedule is subject to change, so check back in class and online for possible revisions.


Week 1
T, 8-17

Modernism (web)

Stevens, "Of Modern Poetry" (web)

R, 8-19

Definition, "Modernism" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Howe, "The Idea of the Modern" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Nelson, "Modern American Poetry" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Pound, "Hugh Selwyn Mauberley" (web)

Pound reading "Mauberley" (web)

Week 2
T, 8-24

Eliot, "The Wasteland" (web)

Eliot reading "The Wasteland" (web)

Leavis, "The Significance of the Modern Waste Land" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Brooks, "The Waste Land: An Analysis" (GeorgiaVIEW)

In Class Activity: Reassembling The Waste Land

R, 8-26

Eliot, concluded

Week 3
T, 8-31

Pound, "A Retrospect" and "A Few Don'ts" (web)

Des Imagistes (web)

R, 9-2

Trotter, "The Modern Novel" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!

In Class Activity: Assembling Absalom, Absalom!'s Thomas Sutpen

Week 4
T, 9-7

Faulkner, concluded

In Class Activity: Yoknapatawpha County Has Issues

R, 9-9

Fitzgerald, "Babylon Revisited" (web)

Fitzgerald, "Winter Dreams" (web)

Week 5
T, 9-14

Hemingway, "The End of Something" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Hemingway, "Soldier's Home" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Hemingway, "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" (GeorgiaVIEW)

In Class Activity: Hemingway's Key Passages

R, 9-16

Hutchinson, Introduction, The Cambridge Companion to the Harlem Renaissance (GeorgiaVIEW)

Larsen, Quicksand

Week 6

T, 9-21

Larsen, concluded

R, 9-23

Watt, "Modern American Drama" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Rice, The Adding Machine

In Class Activity: Breaking Down The Adding Machine

Undergraduate Short Paper Due at 3:30PM

Week 7
T, 9-28

Rice, concluded

In Class Activity: Adding Up The Adding Machine

R, 9-30

Treadwell, Machinal

Exam Review

Week 8
T, 10-5

Treadwell, concluded

R, 10-7

Undergraduate In Class Exam

Week 9
T, 10-12

No Class: Fall Break

R, 10-14


Definition, "Postmodernism" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Hassan, "Toward a Concept of Postmodernism" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Connor, "Postmodernism and Literature" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Ashbery, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror

Ashbery reading from Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (web)

Recommended: Keniston, "Theorizing Postmodern Address" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Recommended: Powell, "What Is Postmodernism?" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Graduate Take Home Exam Due at 3:30PM

Week 10
T, 10-19

Ashbery, concluded

A Conversation with John Ashbery (web)

In Class Activity: Reflecting upon Reflecting upon Reflecting upon "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror"

R, 10-21

Armantrout, Versed

Armantrout reading from Versed (web)

In Class Activity: Responding to Versed

Week 11
T, 10-26

Armantrout, concluded

R, 10-28

Schmidt, "The Postmodern Condition of Theatre" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Albee, Zoo Story (GeorgiaVIEW)

Albee, The Sandbox (GeorgiaVIEW)

Week 12
T, 11-2

Owens, Emma Instigated Me (GeorgiaVIEW)

Shepard, Suicide in B-Flat (GeorgiaVIEW)

Recommended: Angus, "Metadrama, Authority, and the Roots of Incredulity" (GeorgiaVIEW)

R, 11-4

Baraka, Dutchman (GeorgiaVIEW)

Week 13
T, 11-9

Wolfe, The Colored Museum

In Class Activity: Curating The Colored Museum

R, 11-11

Lewis, "Postmodernism and Fiction" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Coover, "The Phantom of the Movie Palace" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Daitch, "X ≠Y" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Tillman, "Living with Contradictions" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Week 14
T, 11-16

Pynchon, "Entropy" (GeorgiaVIEW)

Wallace, from Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (GeorgiaVIEW)

In Class Activity: Postmodern Fiction

R, 11-18

Acker, Don Quixote: A Novel

Recommended: LeClair, "The Lord of La Mancha and Her Abortion"

Recommended: Walsh, "The Quest for Love and the Writing of Female Desire in Kathy Acker's Don Quixote"

In Class Activity: Kathy Acker's Don Quixote

Week 15
T, 11-23

Acker, concluded

Undergraduate Research Paper Due at 3:30PM

Graduate Research Paper Due at 3:30PM

R, 11-25

No Class: Thanksgiving

Week 16
T, 11-30

Danielewski, Only Revolutions

R, 12-2

Danielewski, concluded

Student Opinion Surveys (Bring your laptops)

W, 12-8

Undergraduate Take Home Exam Due at 2:00PM

Graduate Take Home Exam Due at 2:00PM