"I, too, sing America": Identity, Diversity, and Voice in United States Literature

The details
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 5
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 02 July 2021
05 June 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA QT37 English and United States Literature (Including Year Abroad),
BA T720 English and United States Literature,
BA T723 English and United States Literature (Including Placement Year),
BA T728 English and United States Literature (Including Foundation Year),
BA LQ32 Literature and Sociology,
BA LQ33 Literature and Sociology (Including Placement Year),
BA LQ38 Literature and Sociology (Including Foundation Year),
BA QL23 Literature and Sociology (Including Year Abroad)

Module description

This module will look at a mixture of major and less well-known US texts from c.1850 to the present. Students will study a varied spectrum of US literature, looking at issues such as the relationship between American writing and history, American "difference" and differences within American society, nationalism and regionalism, and conflicts of race and gender.

The range of texts will enable us to consider the history of writing in the United States from before the Civil War to the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and beyond: that is, from the beginnings of a conflict that first threatened and then confirmed the United States as a nation state to the civil conflicts that erupted over the assertion by the United States of its global and imperial power as well as over the continuing denial of civil rights to the descendants of the slaves, the original inhabitants of North America and others. Among other topics, we will discuss:

* literary regionalism and literary nationalism
* the development of realism, modernism and postmodernism
* the conflict between the innovators who wanted to make it new, to respond to changing times with changing techniques and those who opted for a return to more traditional methods and values
* the emergence of more politically motivated, socially concerned forms of writing
* the impact of a growing concerns with race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class on American writing
* the varying status of the United States in both internal and transnational terms, as reflected and contributed to by its literature

Module aims

No information available.

Module learning outcomes

No information available.

Module information

Available to those who already have some foundation in nineteenth-century US literature.

Learning and teaching methods

For 2020-21, we will offer a mixture of tailored online, digital, and campus-based teaching where it may be possible and as appropriate, along with personalised one-to-one consultation with academic staff.


  • Melville, Herman. (no date) Moby-Dick, or, The whale.
  • Kesey, Ken. (1979) One flew over the cuckoo's nest: a novel, London: M. Boyars.
  • Orange, Tommy. (2019) There there, New York: Vintage Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.
  • Faulkner, William. (no date) Light in August.
  • Melville, Herman. (no date) Moby-Dick, or The Whale: Penguin Books.
  • Alexie, Sherman. (2013-10-24) Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (20th Anniversary Edition), New York: Grove Press / Atlantic Monthly Press.
  • LT203: LT203 reading lists, essay questions, etc.,
  • Rukeyser, Muriel. (1951) Selected poems, [New York: New Directions.
  • Angelou, Maya. (2013-04-10) Shaker, Why Don't You Sing?: Random House.
  • Hurston, Zora Neale. (no date) Their Eyes Were Watching God.
  • Wright, Richard. (no date) Native Son.
  • Hughes, Langston. (no date) Poems.
  • Williams, William Carlos. (no date) Poems (to be provided).
  • Walker, Alice. (1983, reprinted 1984) The color purple, London: Women's Press.
  • Ginsberg, Allen. (2009) Howl, Kaddish and other poems, London: Penguin.
  • Morrison, Toni. (2000) Beloved, New York: Penguin.
  • Barnes, Djuna; Messerli, Douglas. (1982) Smoke, and other early stories, College Park, Md: Sun & Moon Press.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Essay 1: 2,000 words on a single text or writer    45% 
Coursework   Essay 2: comparative 3,500-4,000 words on two or three texts or writers     45% 
Practical   Participation mark    10% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Owen Robinson, email:
Dr Owen Robinson
LiFTS General Office - email Telephone 01206 872626



External examiner

Prof Duncan James Salkeld
University of Chichester
Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature
Available via Moodle
Of 45 hours, 44 (97.8%) hours available to students:
1 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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