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Last modified: 20 Jul 2020 20:10

Course Overview

This level-three course offers an introduction to American literature and culture between 1850 and 1950, a century in which the United States was transformed from a rural economy to an industrialised super-power. You will learn about the key writers of this period, the issues that sparked their imaginations, and the literary strategies which they adopted, or at times invented, to express their response to the changing world around them. This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Daniel Wall

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Either Programme Level 3 or Programme Level 4
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • English (EL)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

  • EL30HJ American Literature to 1900 (Studied)

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

American Innovation explores literature written in the United States from the mid-nineteenth century to the Second World War, analysing the work of major writers in historical and political context. Between 1850 and 1950, America experienced three major wars, and was transformed from a developing rural economy to a world super-power. These dramatic social and cultural changes are reflected, and sometimes resisted, in the writing of the age. This course considers the rise of a distinctively American perspective in literature, and it looks at how writers of the period experimented with new forms and styles. It engages with the themes of conflict, gender, race and religion through the work of writers such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Willa Cather, F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Faulkner.

In light of Covid-19 this information is indicative and may be subject to change.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

  • 1 Seminar during University weeks 8 - 17

More Information about Week Numbers

In light of Covid-19 and the move to blended learning delivery the assessment information advertised for second half-session courses may be subject to change. All updates for second-half session courses will be actioned in advance of the second half-session teaching starting. Please check back regularly for updates.

Summative Assessments

1x  1500 word written analysis of a theme or idea explored in the work of an author from the first four weeks of the course (30%)

1x 2,500 word comparative essay on any two authors not already written about in the first exercise (50%)

Contributions to a weekly discussion board forum (10%)

1x electronic course journal submitted to Turnitin (10%)

Alternative Resit Arrangements for students taking course in Academic Year 2020/21

1 x Resit Essay (3,000 words)

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome

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