AML 2070.0541
Survey of American Literature
(20th Century)

Spring 2003 / T (10:40-11:20 a.m.), R (10:40-12:25 p.m.) / Rolfs Hall 105
Nick Melczarek, instructor Department phone: 392-6650
Office: Turlington 4357 e-mail
(send no attachments!)
Office hours: TR 9:35-10:25 a.m. Office phone: TBA

Course listserve:

"The Imagination that produces work which bears and invites rereadings, which motions to future readings as well as contemporary ones, implies a shareable world and an endlessly flexible language."
-- Toni Morrison, Playing in the Dark (xii)

"This experience of rereading a text over the course of forty years has shown me how silly those people are who say that dissecting a text and engaging in meticulous close reading is the death of its magic. Every time I pick up Sylvie, even though I know it in such an anatomical way -- perhaps because I know it so well -- I fall in love with it again, as if reading it for the first time."
-- Umberto Eco, Six Walks in the Fictional Woods (12)

(click to jump to the following sections)
  • Course Purpose & Overview
  • Required Texts and Materials
  • Assignments/ Grade Dispersement
  • Course-Related Sites Links
  • Course Policies Page

  • Updated Schedules (highlighted as available); these sites overrule the paper syllabus schedule:
    This syllabus remains deliberately brief to allow flexibility to the unpredictable needs of students. Once updates are posted online, you are responsible for tracking due dates, and for turning in work on time. To ensure that you do not miss assignments or class notes, familiarize yourself with at least two other students -- trade 'phone numbers or e-dresses so that you have two people to contact. I should be the last person you contact for any such information. Always consult the online syllabus, schedule updates, and paper assignment sites before asking me any questions about assignments or the class.
    »»Course Purpose & Overview
    AML 2070.0541 surveys novels by U.S. authors spanning the 20th-Century. We will cover traditional matters of genre, literary influence, and critical exegesis, as well as concomitant critiques of sex, gender, class, race and cultural capital. We will also discuss basic praxes necessary for effective discussion of, presentation on, and writing about literature, including critical terms and literary movements.

    Coincident with close readings of primary texts, we will explore various critical approaches to literature through readings and discussion, both in class and online. These combined techniques, coupled with examples of literary analysis, will provide you with both the critical faculties and working experience necessary to create viable literary commentary. I will lecture minimally, and guide you in methods of researching our selected literature and analytical methods.
    (back to Contents)

    You must have an e-mail account and web access to participate in this course. If you don't have both of these yet, obtain them immediately.

    »»Required Texts and Materials
  • available at Wild Iris Books, 802 W. University Ave. (next to U-Haul dealership and Leonardo's 706):
    ----- R.B. Kershner, The Twentieth-Century Novel (ISBN0-312-10244-5)
    ----- John Dos Passos, Nineteen Nineteen (ISBN 0-618-05682-3)
    ----- William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (ISBN 0-679-73225-X)
    ----- Djuna Barnes, Nightwood (ISBN0-8112-0005-1)
    ----- Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49 (ISBN 0-06-093167-1)
    ----- Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony (ISBN 0-14-00-8683-8)
    ----- Christina Garcia, Dreaming in Cuban (ISBN 0-345-38143-2)
  • online handbook -- for references to online and on-campus Writing Centers.
  • maybe a course packet from Custom Copies, 13th Street
  • general items, acquired on your own:
    ----- a working e-mail account and WWW access
    ----- a college dictionary and thesaurus (not what came with your PC)
    ----- a two-pocket folder (for drafts and final papers)
    (back to Contents)
    »»Assignments/ Grade Dispersement (for quizzes, A=100-90, B=89-80, C=79-70, D=69-60, F= no cigar)
    (for papers, A+=4.5 gp, A/A-=4 gp, B+=3.5 gp, B/B-=3 gp, C+=2.5 gp, C/C-=2 gp, D+=1.5 gp, D/D-=1 gp, F= no cigar)
    The course listserve (SPRING-0541-L@LISTS.UFL.EDU) allows me to e-mail update URLs and other pertinent material to the entire class simultaneously; offers an online space for student questions, explorations, and discussions of the course materials outside traditional classroom space/time. Nevertheless, the listserv functions as an extension of class space/time -- treat others and their opinions with the same respect I insist on in the classroom. E-mail submitted to the listserv is sent to everyone in the class; send e-mail meant for my eyes alone to my personal e-dress ( (Q.v. the Course Policies Page.)
    See Course Policies Page for any other details.
    Papers: Paper assignments will have their own websites; I will post the URLs far ahead of time. Each of the papers assigned is intended to reflect students' abilities to engage our primary texts in responsible, thoughtful, and creative ways through textual evidence and extra-textual critique. We will discuss paper topics in class; paper topics remain subject to my approval. We will conference individually on paper topics and/or drafts. I presume (dangerously) that students enrolled in this course have satisfied the university's writing curriculum prerequisites and thereby know already how to compose well-written, proofread, and edited college-level essays. You remain responsible for seeking writing help if you need it. I fail sloppy or obviously hastily-written work. Plagiarism will result in your failure from the entire course.
    (back to Contents)
    »»Course-Related Sites Links (back to Contents)

    Return to Nick's mainpage.