American Fiction of the 1930s ENGLIT5075

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course addresses major developments in American fiction of the 1930s. Topics include: literary responses to the Great Depression, the Hollywood Novel, Gone With the Wind, the hardboiled, "tough guy" tradition, crime fiction, thirties' Gothic, the Harlem Renaissance, thirties' journeys, modern gender roles, and "lost" fiction currently being reclaimed for the decade.


10x2 hour weekly seminars

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level.

Excluded Courses





1 essay of up to 4000 words on a form, critical issue, or cultural debate that focuses issues raised in class readings and discussion. (80%)

1 written word case study up to 1000 words with the title "Make a case for the inclusion of any piece of American fiction of the 1930s not currently a set text on this course." (20%)

Course Aims

This course aims to introduce students to a series of major developments in American fiction of the 1930s. Examining a wide variety of fictions - critically acclaimed, alongside critically neglected but commercially popular texts, and work that has only recently come back into print - students will explore the challenges facing American fiction writers of the decade, imaginative responses to the Great Depression and beyond, issues of gender, class, race and sexuality in 30s literary representations, and resistance to cultural orthodoxies of the decade.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

- use sophisticated research, analytical and writing skills

- show the ability to work independently

- illustrate enhanced problem-solving skills

- show a critical knowledge of a wide range of American fiction of the 1930s

- show awareness of the social, political, literary, economic and cultural discourses of the decade -illustrate understanding of subsequent key critical and theoretical readings of the 1930s and its literary production through required and supplemental reading and research

- engage in further research framed within any of the discourses above

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.