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Engl. 772-01 Literary Period

Contemporary American

Research Links

  • Absurdism and Existentialism

Absurdism--definition from Abrams, A Glossary of Literary Terms

Introduction to Absurd Drama--selection from Martin Esslin's classic study.

The Theatre of the Absurd: The West and the East--Absurdism, in the context of the Cold War era.

A Cry toward the Absurd: Existentialism--another short introduction to some key ideas and representatives.

Some Main Points from Sartre's Existentialism and Human Emotions: Lecture Outline--very helpful summary of Sartre's key points; a link is also provided to the full lecture.

Existentialism is a Humanism--classic essay by Jean Paul Sartre (translation).

  • Feminism

Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex--major selections from this feminist classic.  See especially Beauvoir's Introduction: Woman as Other.

Kate Millett, "Theory of Sexual Politics"--Chapter 2 of Sexual Politics.

Betty Friedan, "The Problem that Has No Name" --Chapter 1 of The Feminine Mystique. See also Friedan's "The Sexual Solipsism of Sigmund Freud"--Chapter 5 of The Feminine Mystique.

Helene Cixous, "The Laugh of Medusa"-- famous feminist essay.

Luce Irigaray, "This Sex Which Is Not One" --classic feminist book-length text.

Judith Butler, Gender Trouble--short biography and summary of her key ideas.

Smelik's Carousel of Genders--essay on post-modern gender performance in pop culture (Madonna, Michael Jackson, etc.)

Donna Haraway, "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century" --from Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. See also Carolyn Keene on Haraway and 25 years later: Donna Haraway's "A Cyborg Manifesto" for some helpful commentary.

  • Multi-culturalism and Race

What Was Jim Crow? --history of racial segregation in America, late 19th century to beginning of Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s. See also Remembering Jim Crow --helpful introductions to a collection of oral histories. Another good site, produced by PBS: The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of Afro-American Literary Criticism--Chapter 2 on The signifiying Monkey and the Language of Signifying from this important book on Afro-American literary criticism. See also these helpful notes on Chapters 1-2 from Gates' book: Some notes & quotes from Henry Louis Gates, Jr. The Signifying Monkey.

Bell Hooks, "Postmodern Blackness" --critical essay by an important black feminist critic.

Toward a New Consciousness--chapter from Gloria Anzaldua's classic Borderlands/La Frontera. Alternate copy of Toward a New Consciousness.

Entering into the Serpent and the Coatlique State--scroll down to pp. 47-73 (Chapters 3 and 4) in Gloria Anzaldua's Borderlands/La Frontera. Alternate copy available: Coatlalopeuh, She Who Has Dominion over Serpents--selection from Anzaldua's Borderlands/La Frontera. See also critical commentary on Chapter 3 Entering the Serpent.

How to Tame a Wild Tongue--chapter from Gloria Anzaldua's classic Borderlands/La Frontera. Alternate copy of How to Tame a Wild Tongue.

Constructing Mestiza Consciousness: Anzaldua's Literary Techniques in Borderland/La Frontera--The New Mestiza--scholarly article.

Reconfiguring the New Mestiza--critical discussion of Gloria Anzaldua's Borderlands/La Frontera.

Edward Said, Orientalism --from Chapter 1, on Asian stereotypes. See critical commentary: Orientalism.

Trinh T. Minh-ha, Women, Native, Other: Writing Postcoloniality and Feminism"--post-colonial essay.

Chandra Talpade Mohanty, "Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses" --significant article on the dangers of imposing our values on other cultures.

Where I Come from Is Like This--Paula Gunn Allen's well-known essay.

The Sacred Hoop: A Contemporary Indian Perspective on American Indian Literature--important essay by Paula Gunn Allen.

  • Postmodern Theory


Linda Hutcheon

Jean Baudrillard

Jean-Francois Lyotard

Fredric Jameson

Donna Haraway

Bell Hooks

Michel Foucault

  • Selected Authors

Acker, Kathy

Anaya, Rudolfo

  • Message from the Inca --e-text of Anaya story, plus good introduction to Anaya's writing by Michele Bottalico.

Baraka, Amiri

  • Baraka Links --to study aids, scholarly articles, biographical information.

Barth, John

Barthelme, Donald

Brooks, Gwendolyn

  • Brooks' Links --to study aids, scholarly articles, biographical information.

Coover, Robert

DeLillo, Don

Ellison, Ralph

  • Ellison links--to study aids, scholarly articles, biographical information.

Ginsberg, Allen

Johnson, Joyce

Kerouac, Jack

Kingston, Maxine Hong

Lee, Chang-Rae

Lee, Li-Young

LeGuin, Ursula

Levertov, Denise

Lowell, Robert

  • Lowell links --to study aids, scholarly articles, biographical information.

Matrix, The

Morrison, Toni

  • Morrison links--to study aids, scholarly articles, biographical information.

Mukherjee, Bharati

O'Connor, Flannery

Olsen, Tillie

Paley, Grace

Plath, Sylvia

Pynchon, Thomas

Silko, Leslie Marmon

Viramontes, Helena María

Vizenor, Gerald

Vonnegut, Kurt


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