The American Novel Since 1945: A Free Yale Course on Novels by Nabokov, Kerouac, Morrison, Pynchon & More

Taught by professor Amy Hungerford, The American Novel Since 1945 offers an introduction to the fertile literary period that followed World War II. The course description reads:

In “The American Novel Since 1945” students will study a wide range of works from 1945 to the present. The course traces the formal and thematic developments of the novel in this period, focusing on the relationship between writers and readers, the conditions of publishing, innovations in the novel’s form, fiction’s engagement with history, and the changing place of literature in American culture. The reading list includes works by Richard Wright, Flannery O’Connor, Vladimir Nabokov, Jack Kerouac, J. D. Salinger, Thomas Pynchon, John Barth, Maxine Hong Kingston, Toni Morrison, Marilynne Robinson, Cormac McCarthy, Philip Roth and Edward P. Jones. The course concludes with a contemporary novel chosen by the students in the class.

You can watch the 26 lectures from the course above, or find them on YouTube and iTunes (videoaudio). To get more information about the course, including the syllabus, visit this Yale website.

The main texts used in this course include:

The American Novel Since 1945 will be added to our collection, 1200 Free Online Courses from Top Universities. There you can find a specialized list of Free Online Literature Courses.

Related Content:

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Flannery O’Connor Reads ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’ in Rare 1959 Audio

Cormac McCarthy’s Three Punctuation Rules, and How They All Go Back to James Joyce


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  • Christine Meyer says:

    I’m not sure I would agree with Professor Hungerford in that fictional art confronts the world in a much more ‘general’ sense to capture the ‘everyman’ view… specifics can tie a story together and lend the personal to be of universal hope, anguish or familiarity. Thank for a very nice intro to the course!

  • Marie McMarrow says:

    Excellent introduction to the course! Technology allowed me to listen/watch from my phone, while I covered house chores. I want in for that series! Thank you professor Hungerford.

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