F. Scott Fitzgerald, Edith Wharton and Dialogues of American Literary Modernism ENGLIT5076

  • 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 explores the work and critical reputations of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Edith Wharton in a variety of genres, notably in relation to the writers' dialogues with American literary modernism. Texts and topics include: the landmark modernist novel The Great Gatsby and literary representations of the Jazz Age; the American marketplace in The Custom of the Country and The House of Mirth; Wharton's critiques of perceived modernist excess, her modernist subject matter and recent reappraisals of her relationship with modernism; the role of Europe and the American tradition of exile, filtered through Tender Is the Night and The Age of Innocence; the writers' key contemporaries; recent film adaptations of the major work; lucrative careers as short story writers; and modern celebrity culture.


10x2 hour weekly seminars

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level.

Excluded Courses





Research essay: extended paper on a form, critical issue, or cultural debate that focuses issues raised in class readings and discussion. (4000 words; 80%)


A 1000 word essay, offering a close reading of any one extra-curricular short story or novella by Fitzgerald or Wharton. (20%)

Course Aims

This course aims to explore the work and critical reputations of two of the most influential American writers of the first half of the twentieth century, and their dialogues with American literary modernism. Students will examine the work of both writers in a variety of genres, the major critical debates of their times, their relationship and contribution to modernism, and the shifting social, cultural, publishing and historical contexts of their careers.


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 selected writings of Edith Wharton and F. Scott Fitzgerald in a variety of genres and in relation to American literary modernism

• show awareness of the social, political, literary, economic and cultural contexts of the writers' body of work and their critical and public reception

• illustrate understanding of key critical and theoretical readings of their work

• 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.