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Last modified: 25 Mar 2016 11:39

Course Overview

The Gilded Age was a time of glamour, hardship, renewal and corruption in American society. This fourth-year course looks at the literature of this formative period in the history of the United States, between the Civil War in the 1860s and the Great Depression in the 1920s. It explores how the writers of this period helped to shape, but also at times resisted the formation of a modern American identity.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 4
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Professor Hazel Hutchison

Qualification Prerequisites


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

  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • Either English (EL) (Studied) or Literature In A World Context (LW) (Studied)
  • Programme Level 4

What other courses must be taken with this course?


Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

The late nineteenth century brought industrialisation and a new sophistication into American culture. This course focuses on American writing at this time of astonishing social and intellectual change. Covering the historical period from the end of the Civil War in 1865 to the Wall Street Crash of 1929, this course explores issues such as innocence and decadence, the urban environment, the First World War, and the changing place of women in society. This course aims to examine the response of writers to these issues, and the new forms of literature which they developed in an increasingly modern age. Authors to be studied include Henry James, Edith Wharton, Theodore Dreiser, F Scott Fitzgerald, Willa Cather and E. E. Cummings.

Further Information & Notes

One two-hour seminar per week.

Contact Teaching Time

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

Teaching Breakdown


More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: 2 essays 3,000 words (40%) each.

Seminar assessment mark, based on frequency and quality of participation in class (20%).
Resit: For honours students only: candidates achieving a CAS mark of 6-8 may be awarded compensatory level 1 credit. Candidates achieving a CAS mark of less than 6 will be required to submit a new essay.

Formative Assessment

Formative assessment take place through the marking of written work throughout the semester.


Written feedback will be given on written work and on participation in class. Students will also have opportunities throughout the semester to discuss their progress with tutors.

Course Learning Outcomes


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