Module Details

LT936-7-AU-CO: United States Nationalism And Regionalism

Year: 2017/18
Department: Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Essex credit: 20
ECTS credit: 10
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: Yes
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No
Outside Option: No

Supervisor: Dr Owen Robinson
Teaching Staff: Dr Owen Robinson
Contact details: LiFTS Taught Team - email Telephone 01206 872626

Module is taught during the following terms
Autumn Spring Summer

Module Description

"We have listened too long to the courtly muses of Europe," wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1837, as part of a call for US letters to develop distinctively to further the distinctiveness of the United States project itself: how can the nation reach its potential if it is not prepared to think of itself as new, independent, and important? As well as materially, America needs to think itself into fruition.

This module will study of some major writers from the nineteenth century onwards, with reference to (i) the development of US nationalism and the idea of a national tradition of literature; (ii) the development of regionalism and the construction of ideas of the local, with particular reference to the South and the West; (iii) how such processes relate to wider transnational considerations, to ask how national and regional identities relate to others beyond the borders of the United States

Module Supervisor's Research into Subject Area
Dr Owen Robinson has published and taught widely on the literature of the United States. His research is centred on writing from and about the US South, considering it in relation both to the wider United States and in terms of its relations with other places in the Americas. He is the author of Creating Yoknapatawpha: Readers and Writers in Faulkner's Fiction (Routledge, 2006) and several articles and book chapters on Faulkner and other writers. He is currently working on writing focussed on New Orleans, with his book Myriad City: Towards a Literary Geography of New Orleans due to be published by Liverpool University Press in 2016. With Maria Cristina Fumagalli, Peter Hulme, and Lesley Wylie, he is co-editor of Surveying the American Tropics: A Literary Geography from New York to Rio (Liverpool University Press, 2013).

Learning and Teaching Methods

One two-hour seminar per week for ten weeks


100 per cent Coursework Mark


One 5,000 word essay


  • Extracts from Ralph Waldo Emerson, J. Hector St. John de Crevecour, Frederick Douglass
  • Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1855 edition)
  • Herman Melville, 'Bartleby, the Scrivener' and Benito Cereno
  • Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi
  • William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!
  • Carson McCullers, The Member of the Wedding
  • M. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn
  • Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing
  • E. L. Doctorow, Homer and Langley
  • Toni Morrison, Beloved

Further information