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This module will treat the literature of the United States in terms of its distinctively American cultural claims, claims which evolve and become contested as its citizenry becomes more diverse. The texts chosen will illustrate formal as well as thematic innovations in fiction, poetry, and/or drama showing how the need to tell new and unfamiliar stories requires traditional literary forms to adapt to the rhythms of new voices. Students will be required to consider texts that reflect a prolonged historical experience and which engage issues of political controversy. Most importantly, students will be encouraged to consider what makes a text distinctively “American” and to consider the implications of the fact that America, like American Literature itself, is very much “a work in process”.