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LIT 54 — Masters of American Literature

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Apr 2—Jun 4
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Apr 15
Units: 2
Tuition: $485
Instructor(s): Michael Krasny
Status: Open
7:00—8:50 pm
Apr 2—Jun 4
10 weeks
Drop By
Apr 15
2 Units
Michael Krasny
This course focuses on American fiction published from the 19th century to the present by introducing major figures and examining central themes, stylistics, and craft in a range of short stories and two novels. What elements culturally link American writers who emerge from diverse backgrounds? Why do certain storytellers affect readers so strongly, and how do we judge or evaluate who belongs in the pantheon?

We will read and discuss a wide range of fiction by some of the nation’s best and most beloved writers of fiction, including novels by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Toni Morrison and short stories by Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Kate Chopin, Herman Melville, Willa Cather, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Eudora Welty, Shirley Jackson, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Flannery O’Connor, John Updike, Raymond Carver, Toni Cade Bambara, Margaret Atwood, Amy Tan, Sandra Cisneros, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Sherman Alexie. Class sessions will include lecture and discussion. Emphasis will be on close readings. Course texts will include The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald, Sula by Morrison, and 40 Short Stories edited by Beverly Lawn.

Michael Krasny, Professor of English, SF State; Host of Forum, KQED Radio

Michael Krasny is a widely published literary critic and scholar and has hosted Forum on KQED radio since 1993. He is the author of a number of books including Off Mike, Spiritual Envy, and Let There Be Laughter; the co-author of Sound Ideas; and the creator and presenter of the audio lecture series Masterpieces of Short Fiction.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Beverly Lawn, 40 Stories: A Portable Anthology, Fifth edition (ISBN 978-1-319-03538-9)
(Required) F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (ISBN 978-0-7432-7356-5)
(Required) Toni Morrison, Sula (ISBN 978-1400033430)