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LIT 70 — 20th-Century American Novel Masterpieces

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 28—Dec 7
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Sep 30
Units: 2
Tuition: $550
Instructor(s): Michael Krasny
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
Please Note: No class on November 23
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Sep 28—Dec 7
10 weeks
Refund Date
Sep 30
2 Units
Michael Krasny
Please Note: No class on November 23
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
For many years, the idea of a so-called Great American Novel has held sway and become a kind of boilerplate aspiration for both writers and readers. The real question is if there is a Great American Novel, what novel or novels deserve being designated as such and why? In this course, the instructor has selected three American novels that make the grade—not so much because they represent the American experience, although each in its own way does, but because all three are profoundly American literary masterpieces and each has endured and will endure as part of the nation’s literary pantheon. The three are F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, and Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon. All, initially, were not great artistic or marketplace successes, but all have come to be recognized as brilliant thematic and stylistic works of literary art and great storytelling that take us into the depths of understanding American history, culture, and language.

Professor of English, Emeritus, SF State; Former Host of Forum, KQED Radio

Michael Krasny is a literary critic, scholar, and celebrated broadcast journalist. He is the author of many 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." Krasny is the host of the weekly podcast Grey Matter with Michael Krasny. He received a PhD in 20th century American literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) F Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby (ISBN 979-8351145013)
(Required) Ralph Ellison , Invisible Man (ISBN 978-0679732761)
(Required) Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon (ISBN 978-1400033423)