The Twentieth Century: Whose American Dream?

Fall 2023
Subject Area:
Course Number:
ENGL 0040 601
Tuesday 5:15 - 8:15 p.m.
Primary Program:
LPS Undergraduate & Post-Baccalaureate
Course Description:

Do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life. This piece of conventional wisdom has long led Americans to believe that if we love to do something, it can't be work. It becomes, essentially, a labor of love--and yet, doesn't even a work of art require work? In this survey course of twentieth-century American literature, we will consider the relationship between the American Dream, the figure of the "worker," and artistic labor writ large. Through our readings of novels, poetry, and films, we will explore contemporary notions about workers in the context of social and economic developments throughout the century, paying particular attention to texts that challenge the association of the figure of "the worker" with heteronormative white masculinity and the industrial jobs that make up a shrinking portion of the U.S. economy.