English 246L

Literature in English, 1945 to the Present: In the Archive with American Fiction and Poetry

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2014 Saul, Scott
TTh 9:30-11 108 Wheeler

Book List

Didion, Joan: The Book of Common Prayer; Ellison, Ralph: Invisible Man; Ginsberg, Allen: Howl (original draft facsimile); Hagedorn, Jessica: Dogeaters; Hejinian, Lyn: My Life; Kingston, Maxine Hong: The Woman Warrior; LeGuin, Ursula: The Dispossessed; Olsen, Tillie: Yonnondio; Pynchon, Thomas: The Crying of Lot 49; Roth, Philip: Portnoy's Complaint; Yamashita, Karen Tei: Tropic of Orange


This course is two courses rolled into one.

First, it offers a survey of post-WWII American fiction and poetry, with an eye especially to how aesthetic forms were reshaped under the pressure of social movements (the 1930s left, the Civil Rights movement, women's liberation, gay liberation, the environmental movement) and the political counterreactions to them. 

Second, it offers an introduction, on the graduate level, to the practice of archival research, a somewhat lost art among scholars of post-WWII literature. At least half of the authors we will study—including Robert Creeley, Joan Didion, Allen Ginsberg, Thom Gunn, Jessica Hagedorn, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Tillie Olsen--have literary archives deposited either at Berkeley's Bancroft Library or at Stanford's Special Collections Library. Students will be expected to write a final essay built, at least in part, on a foundation of archival research and will be encouraged, as writers, to find a form that best fits their discoveries and their line of inquiry.

In addition to the authors named above, we will be looking at the work of Ralph Ellison, Thomas Pynchon, Philip Roth, Ursula LeGuin, Sam Shepard, Raymond Carver, Lyn Hejinian, and Karen Tei Yamashita, among others.

This course satisfies the Group 5 (20th century) requirement.

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