"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 03 October 2019
Friday 26 June 2020
27 March 2019


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. You 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 and also investigate the state of civil rights for the descendants of the slaves, the original inhabitants of North America and others. Our discussion will include literary regionalism and literary nationalism; the development of realism, modernism and postmodernism; the emergence of more politically motivated, socially concerned forms of writing; the impact of a growing concern with race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class on American writing; and the varying status of the United States in both internal and transnational terms, as reflected and contributed to by its literature.

Module aims

The aims of the module are

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

Weekly lecture (one hour) and weekly class (of one hour).


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Alexie, Sherman. (2013) The Lone Ranger and Tonto fistfight in heaven, New York: Grove Press.
  • 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 (2,000-2,500 words)  16/01/2020  45% 
Coursework   Essay 2 (2,000-2,500 words)   23/04/2020  45% 
Practical   Class Participation mark    10% 
Exam  180 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main) 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%


Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Owen Robinson, email:
Dr Jordan Savage
LiFTS General Office - email Telephone 01206 872626



External examiner

Prof Duncan James Salkeld
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

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