English 134

Contemporary Literature: 21st-Century American Writing

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2016 Hejinian, Lyn
MW 2-3 + discussion sections F 2-3 160 Kroeber

Book List

Brown, Brandon: Top 40; Clevidence, Cody-Rose: Beast Feast; Coates, Ta-Nehisi: Between the World and Me; Cole, Teju: Open City; Dutton, Danielle: Sprawl; Díaz, Junot: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; Gladman, Renee: Event Factory; Lerner, Ben: 10:04; Moten, Fred: The Service Porch; Notley, Alice: Certain Magical Acts; Rankine, Claudea: Citizen: An American Lyric; Robertson, Lisa: Nilling; Spahr, Juliana and Buuck, David: The Army of Lovers

Other Readings and Media

A course reader, available from Copy Central on Bancroft Ave.


In this course we will take seriously the notion of “the contemporary” as that which coexists with us and is relevant to our times—or our spaces. All the works on the syllabus have been published in the past ten years, most within the past three. They offer examples of current literature’s attempts to dwell in the present while thinking both about that temporal situation (“the present”) and that activity (“dwelling”). Not all the works are readily categorizable as to genre; the syllabus is weighted toward prose, but some of the prose works are, arguably, poetry. In many, communication, and even humanness, appear to be in question. Or, perhaps, they are evolving into new forms. But, as many of the books on the course reading list suggest, one thing that is not vanishing is the centrality of desire in the experiencing of lived life.

The first two books on the syllabus are Open City, by Teju Cole, and SPRAWL, by Danielle Dutton. It is suggested that at least the first, and preferably both, be purchased in advance, so that the course can proceed without anyone’s falling behind.

Discussion Sections

101 Wilson, Mary
MWF 2-3 209 Dwinelle
102 Benjamin, Daniel
F 2-3 223 Dwinelle
103 Alexander, Edward Sterling
F 2-3 B5 Hearst Annex
104 No instructor assigned yet.
F 2-3 102 Moffitt

Other Recent Sections of This Course

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