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20th- and 21st-Century Literature

The twentieth-century division offers a wealth of opportunities for graduate students interested in twentieth- and early twenty-first-century literature. With a distinguished faculty of thirteen scholars, the division provides training in the many fields and sub-fields that characterize modern and contemporary literature and culture.

Courses in modernism and modernist literature examine the unprecedented experimentation that characterized poetry, fiction, and drama in the century’s early decades, and the changing relationships between literary production and the material cultures of modernity.

Courses in contemporary literature explore postmodernism and such emerging forms as the graphic novel, language poetry, performance art, and emerging forms of digital culture.

In the area of British, Irish, and Anglophone literatures, the division provides opportunities to study such canonical writers as James Joyce and Virginia Woolf while also offering courses in South Asian, Caribbean, and other postcolonial literatures.

In the area of American literature, the division provides opportunities to study Southern, African-American, Asian-American, and Native American literatures, as well as more canonical literary figures and movements. The division’s numerous offerings in major literary genres are complemented by the department’s extensive graduate courses in critical theory and its courses in film study, which explore the intersections of cinema, literature, and culture.

Research assistantships allow graduate students working on twentieth-century literature to work closely with individual faculty members on research and editorial projects, while reading groups, specialized exams, and visiting scholars speaking on twentieth-century literature and culture help students professionalize themselves in specialized areas of scholarship.

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