What’s eating … America today?

The seminar is going to focus on the issues that are of importance for contemporary American authors. The first part of the course will analyze the main developments in American fiction in the last 70 years, with the focus on recent texts. Emphasis will be put both on the innovative character of those developments and on their roots in American literary tradition. The texts will be analyzed in the context of political, social, and cultural transformations of the USA in order to examine not only HOW contemporary authors write but also WHY they choose particular themes to write about. This way the course will present and analyze key problems of contemporary American society as reflected in literature. The authors include DeLillo, Eagan, Grande, Adichie, Russo, Franzen, Straight and Foer, to name just a few. Literary texts will be complemented by a brief lead-in part and/or a film/clip depicting a particular problem. The second part of the seminar will be devoted to students’ MA projects. Therefore, our classes will also cover the key issues related to the writing of an MA thesis, where students will be allowed to venture into any area of contemporary American literature they find of interest, as long as it provides sufficient material for their theses. The credit is given on the basis of students’ performance in the class (including both attendance and participation), presentations, quizzes and grades for additional assignments. Apart from that, students have to meet deadlines related to the submission of their theses (i.e. outlines, drafts, chapters, etc.). READING the assigned material is a requirement of the course.