ATS2500 - The "Great" American Novel - 2018

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Literary Studies

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Leah Garrett


Professor Leah Garrett

Not offered in 2018




This unit is an introduction to some of the major writers in American literature during the twentieth century, and an exploration of the concept of a national literary identity. The course will consider the historical background of the time period when the novels were set as well as the biographies of the authors in order to discover how writers from a broad range of regions and ethnic backgrounds described the particular traits of being American.


On successfully completing this unit, students will have:

  1. Familiarity with an array of contemporary American writers.
  2. Understanding of the impact of historical events on American literature.
  3. Developed tools of comparative analysis when researching authors writing from different ethnicities and classes.
  4. Honed evaluative tools for approaching writers composing at the same time but from very different backgrounds.
  5. Understanding of the historical similarities and differences between literary production in America and in Australia.
  6. Understanding the manner in which American literature transformed during the 20th century.
  7. Developed oral and written communication skills.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study