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American Literature. Mark Twain Essay

Twain – a romantic or a realist?, literary significance of Mark Twain, Twain’s life experiences as reflected in his works, Twain as a travel writer, Twain as a publisher – the American literary market in the late nineteenth C., Twain’s personal tragedies, literary fads exploited by Twain, Twain’s major woks

1. NATURALISM AND REALISM

Realism vs. romanticism, naturalism as a more drastic version of realism, naturalism in literature: philosophy and technique; the importance of Darwin and Marx for naturalistic literature, William Dean Howells as a pioneer of realism and naturalism in American literature, main representatives (you should be able to provide at least one title with a brief description): Hamlin Garland, Jack London, Frank Norris, Theodore Dreiser, Stephen Crane

2. HENRY JAMES (part I & II)

Twain vs. James, critical opinions about James, James’s background, James’s international novels, James as a critic, James as a dramatist, James as a pre-modernist author, The Turn of the Screw – James as a Gothic writer, three periods of James’ literary career (with representative examples).

3. REGIONAL WIRTING

The influence of realism and romanticism on the development of the local color literature, examples of regional writing: Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, Bret Harte’s The Luck of the Roaring Camp, Edward Eggleston’s The Hoosier Schoolmaster, Joel Chandler Harris’s Uncle Remus, George Washington Cable’s Old Creole Days, Sidney Lanier

4. FRANCIS SCOTT FITZGERALD

Fitzgerald as an icon of the Jazz Age, Fitzgerald’s relationship with Zelda Sayre, This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby – Fitzgerald as a critic of the American Dream, Fitzgerald’s stay in Paris, Tender is the Night , Fitzgerald and Hollywood

5. ERNEST HEMINGWAY

Hemingway as a war correspondent, Hemingway’s “macho” philosophy of life – the importance of fishing, hunting and bullfighting, the “Hemingway hero”, the “Hemingway code,” Hemingway and the Lost Generation, Hemingway’s style, Hemingway and sentimentalism, Hemingway’s major works

6. GERTRUDE STEIN

Stein’s background, Stein and feminism , the importance of Stein for American letters, political controversies surrounding Stein, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas – Stein as a chronicle of Paris life, Tender Buttons as an example of Stein’s experimental writing, Stein as an art collector

7. AMERICAN MODERNIST POETRY: EZRA POUND

Pound and Whitman, Pound and imagism: “A Few Don’ts by an Imagiste,” Pound’s definition of an image, Pound’s “translations” from the Chinese – Pound and Fenollosa, Pound and the haiku tradition, Pound as a critic of the Western civilization, political controversies surrounding Pound

8. AMERICAN MODERNIST POETRY: WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS AND THE OBJECTIVISTS

William Carlos Williams’s idea of modern American poetry – Williams’s attitude towards Eliot’s Waste Land – actually, we did not do much back then – it was the day when the world was supposed to end and the computer broke down

The topics of the remaining two lectures:

9. AMERICAN MODERNIST POETRY CONTINUED

10. WILLIAM FAULKNER


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