This is the fourth part of my lecture series "American Literary History." You do not have to have taken the earlier parts to participate in this course. We will cover North American literature from the post-WWII era all the way up to the present. The readings will include examples from different genres (prose, poetry, drama, non-fiction, graphic narrative) and will introduce you to major authors, works, styles, schools, and periods. In order to properly read and analyze the literature of this timespan, it is necessary to acquire a basic understanding of major historical, political, and social events, which means that we will always historicize and contextualize the literature we study.
The course proposes a two-part framework that moves from a period of postmodernism (postwar era to the 1990s) to what we may call contemporary literature (1990s to today). Within this framework, we will pay particular attention to formal innovations as well as to changing themes and subject matters, including issues of gender, race, class, and sexual identity.
Authors studied in the lecture course will include (among others) William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Ann Petry,  Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Lillian Hellman, Loraine Hansberry, John Updike, J.D. Salinger, Sylvia Plath, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Diane Di Prima, Philip Roth, Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, Paul Auster, David Mamet, Ntozake Shange, Toni Morrison, N. Scott Momaday, Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie, Sandra Cisneros, David Foster Wallace, Junot Diaz, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Siri Hustvedt, Jennifer Egan, Dave Eggers, Joathan Safran Foer, Jonathan Franzen, Ruth L. Ozeki, Chris Ware, Art Spiegelman, Alison Bechdel, Gene Luen Yang, and Emil Ferris.