Course overview

This 10 week course will concentrate on American literature in the last 150 years and its association with what is known as the Mobile Frontier, the imaginative and physical progression Westwards. We will chart this development historically and will study the following texts: • Leaves of Grass - Walt Whitman. • Travels with Charley - John Steinbeck. • On the Road - Jack Kerouac. • All the Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy. • Poems by Felinghetti, Bob Dylan & Thom Gunn. The course will allow us to explore the issues of identity and gender in American literature, as well as allowing us to relish the beauty and despair of American fiction.

Course description

Bob Dylan wrote: Well if you ever plan to motor west/Just take my way that's the highway that's the best/Get your kicks on Route 66, while Thom Gunn said Man You Gotta Go. Both quotations surge with restless energy and a desire for freedom, impulses which many of our texts will negotiate with. We will, however, discuss whether this energy is always utopian or whether it has a dystopian darkness inherent in it too.

The course will inevitably touch on the issue, much discussed in American letters, regarding the American Dream, but we will be more minded to explore how these texts disclose a vision of an America divided by race, class, gender and sexuality, which persist in being contentious territories in the U.S. today. We will discover how American writers have consistently interrogated and challenged populism and its simple binary visions and morality. And by the way, the scenery is great along the way as we progress westwards.

This course will prompt wide-ranging discussions and lead us towards a vision of the plural identities that have shaped and continue to shape the U.S. today. It promises to be informative and controversial.

What financial support is available?

We don't want anything to stand in your way when it comes to bringing Adult learning within reach so if you need anything to support you to achieve your goals then speak to one of our education experts during your enrolment journey. Most of our courses are government funded but if you don't qualify or need alternative financial help to access them then let us know.

What other support is available?

All of our digital content, teaching and learning activities and assessments are designed to be accessible so if you need any additional support you can discuss this with the education experts during your enrolment journey and we will do all we can to make sure you have optimal access.

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