Američka književnost – diplomski ispit (opis)

(study guide and reading list)


I. General guide

A – General Background
B – Writers and Books : The Reading List
C – Textbooks and Study Materials

II. Reading List

Studenti su dužni proučiti sve upute koje se nalaze pod General Guide prije nego počnu spremati ispit.


I. General guide


 The students are expected to have some basic knowledge of periods and movements in American literature and a summary notion of its historical background. In order to gain a sense of literary – historical perspective, students should read the introductions to the various sections in American literature. The Makers and the Making, Volumes I & II (subsequently M&M). A 246-page selection of literary-historical and critical material from M&M is available for photocopying in the Photocopy Shop in the basement to be used as a textbook by the students. The students should use it selectively, in accordance with the requirements set by this study guide, as well as their individual choices and preferences. As regards the texts of the M&M introductions, only the knowledge of the most outstanding historical events and personalities will be required: students should be acquainted with the prominent terms and notions concerning the history of American culture, which are outlined below. These outlines also contain names of writers, some of which do not appear on the reading list, but deserve to be known at least by name and general orientation. The material has been divided into five sections following in chronological order. A general knowledge of all of these is required : the student is expected  to select for special study either Section II, III or IV.

 I. Pre-national Literature (1620-1743) and An Emergent National Literature (1743-1826)

             (M&M I, pp.1-17, 27-28, 34-35, 38-40, 82-86, 109-119, 120-125)

 The first English settlers: Puritanism – Calvin, Luther : predestination : individual conscience : the habit of self-exploration : God’s covenant with man : manifest destiny : the sense of sin.

New England seen as New Jerusalem.

Early Puritan writing : the Great Awakening : the influence of the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment : Deism : the War of Independence : the Declaration of Independence.

Bradford, Winthrop, Mather, Bradstreet, Taylor, Edwards, Franklin, Jefferson, Bryant, Washington, Irving, Cooper.


II. A National Literature and Romantic Individualism (1826-1861)

             (M&M Vol I, pp. 325-352)

 The paradox of chattel slavery vs. belief in equality of all men : the proces of democratization : industrialization : abolitionism (334-335) : transcendentalism (338-351): the Civil War : the drive to the West and gradual settling of the continent : Boston and New England dominating literary life.

 Poe, Hawthorne, Longfellow, Lowell, Beecher Stowe, Emerson, Thoreau, Melville, Whitman.


III. The New Consciousness (1861-1914)

             (M&M, Vol II, pp.1197-1220, 1341)

 Big industry and finance capitalism : achievements which “staggered the imagination” such as the transcontinental railway : the winning of the West : mass immigration from Europe : expansive optimism countered by disgust with the new order, and an impulse to reform : the Robber Barons vs. philantropy : Twain’s “Gilded Age” : the belted rise of realism and naturalism : local colour fiction : the novel as an art form (1215-17)

 Dickinson, Bret Harte, Twain (Clemens), the “Muckrakers”, Howells, James, Wharton, Bierce, Crane, Norris, Upton Sinclair, London


IV. The Moderns : Founders and Beyond (1914-1945)

             (M&M, Vol II, pp.1803-1829; 2043-2057)

The US becoming a world power : World War I : the “lost generation” : the “jazz age”: the Twenties, a time of “fluidity, of questioning and of experimentation”, also disillusionment and cynicism : prohibition : European intellectual influences (Freud, Frazer) : an intense reexamination of the role of art vis-a-vis a rising mass culture and a predominantly scientific climate of ideas : depression : leftist tendencies in the Thirtiest.

In literature the flow of realist and naturalist writing culminating in Dreiser’s  An American Tragedy, the veering towards “modernism” in Hemingway, Doss Passos and Faulkner ; the new wave of social commitment in the writing of the Thirties ; the “nativist” and modernist trends in poetry ( the role of imagism and symbolism ).

Dreiser, Sherwood Anderson, Sinclair Lewis, Steinbeck, Doss Passos, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Faulkner, Wright, Stein, Wolfe, O’Neill, Odets, Frost, Eliot, Pound, Williams, Stevens, Hart Crane, Cummings, Langston Hughes .


V. World War II to the Present

The students dealing with this period will rely on their own sources (Frederick R. Karl : American Fictions 1940-1980 ; Hoffman ad. : Harvard Guide to Contemporary American Writing; Hart ed.: The Concise Oxford Companion to American Literature ).

Significant in this period is the affirmation of Jewish writers and Black and women ( feminist ) writers ; reliance on black humour and the absurd ; wide and sometimes wild experimentation ; departures from realism into fantasy, fragmentation or self-conscious artifice.

Among the most notable writers of fiction : Robert Penn Warren, Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, Carson McCullers, Bellow, Malamud, Roth, Mailer, Heller, Ellison, Baldwin, Nabokov, Barth, Pynchon, Updike, Vonnegut. Among the poets : Lowell, Roethke, Barryman, Ginsberg, Plath, Le Roy Jones ( Baraka ), Gwendolyn Brooks. In drama : Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Albee, Shepard.



Below, a revised and extended list of authors and texts is offered calling for more individual study and preparation. Making a selection from those writers on the reading list which are not obligatory, and perhaps adding some personal choices, each student will submit to his examiner his own typewritten list of the works he has read, underlining the period and the names and works of writers selected for special study.

This individual lists should contain no less than 25 items ( writers ); an “item” consists of one novel or a selection of poems not less than 300 lines, or a selection of essays or 2-3 plays. Of these, 12 are obligatory (underlined on the list ), and 13 can be selected from the reading list or from the writers listed in PART A ( this refers especially to those poets, whose names have not been repeated on the reading list ).

Of the 25 items ( writers ) on each student’s list, 10 writers should be singled out for special study ( five of them must be chosen from among the obligatory writers, and five from among others ). The student should read more than one item written by these 10 authors : anther novel ( with omissions ), a few short stories, some critical essays ( in the case of James, Pound or Eliot, for example ), as well as some criticism about them. It is suggested that at least some of these writers belong to the period the student is concentrating on.



 The principal textbook for the study of writers and their writing is the anthology AMERICAN LITERATURE, The Makers and the Making which, apart from the introductory texts mentioned above, also contains comprehensive texts on all the major writers ( with the exception of contemporary writers ). These are especially important for the period and writers selected for special study, and, to a lesser degree, for the five remaining obligatory writers. Other writers can be studied more superficially, either by more cursory reading in M&M or from other, more concise textbooks.

            Principal textbooks and anthologies :

Marcus Cunliffe : The Literature of the United States
Brooks-Lewis-Warren : American Literature, The Makers and the Making
Bradley-Beatty-Long : The American Tradition in Literature
Povijest svjetske književnosti ( Mladost ), sv. VI
Hoffman : Harvard Guide to Contemporary American Literature
Eliott, ed.: Columbia Literary History of the United States

II. Reading List

READING LIST for the Diploma Examination in American Literature

Note : The standard required titles by individual writers, which are underlined as a rule, are sometimes followed by aditional readings of mostly shorter fiction. These titles are optional and others may be chosen instead. This list contains only titles by the major poets. For names of other poets whom students may wish to study ( basing their reading on selections in major anthologies ) see the lists in section A. The student’s personal list may contain under separate heading works by other writers which the students may know more superficially, and can talk about more informally, indicating the extent of their reading and the range of their interests.

A list containing a minimum of 25 writers should not have more than 5 novelists from Secton V, and not less than 5 poets.

 1. Jonathan Edwards : Personal narrative : Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, with a selection of other Puritan writings

2. Benjamin Franklin : Autobiography ( extracts ) and Thomas Jefferson : Declaration of Independence

3. E. A. Poe : 5 stories, 4 poems ; Philosophy of Composition  

  • The Black Cat
  • The Cask of Amontillado
  • The Complete Poems of Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Gold-Bug
  • The Murders in the Rue Morgue
  • The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket
  • The Pit and the Pendulum
  • The Purloined Letter
  • The Tell-Tale Heart
  • Tales (1845 ed.)

4. Nathaniel Hawthorne :

·       The Scarlet Letter
·       The Birthmark
·       Young Goodman Brown
·       Ethan Brand
·       Rappaccini’s Daughter
·       The Gentle Boy
·       Wakefield
·       The Minister’s Black Veil
·       The Snow-Image: A Childish Miracle [a machine-readable transcription]
·       My Kinsman, Major Molineux 

5. Herman Melville : Moby Dick, ( with some omissions ), Billy Bud, Benito Cereno, Bartleby the Scrivener

6. Ralph Waldo Emerson : Nature, Self-Reliance, The American Scholar and Henry Thoreau : Walden (extracts)

7. Walt Whitman : Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, Song of myself ( extracts )

8. Emily Dickinson : 15 poems

9. Mark Twain : The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg, Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offences or some other extracts from M&M

10. William Dean Howells or Edith Wharton : one of the major novels

11. Henry James : The portrait of a Lady or The Ambassadors or The Golden Bowl or The Wings of the Dove or What Maisle Knew or The Princess Casamassima ; The Real Thing, The Jolly Corner, The Pupil, The Figure in the Carpet, The Lesson of the Master, The Beast in the Jungle ; The Art of Fiction, and the Prefaces ( extracts ), other critical and autobiographical writings

12. Stephen Crane : The Red Badge of Courage ; The Open Boat, The Blue Hotel

13. Theodore Dreiser : An American Tragedy ; Sister Carrie; the Cowperwood Trilogy ( The Financier, The Titan, The Stoic )

14. F. Scott-Fitzgerald : The Great Gatsby ; Tender is the Night, The Crack-Up

15. Ernest Hemingway : The Sun Also Rises or A Farewell to Arms or In Our Time plus 10 more stories

16. William Faulkner : The Sound and the Fury or Light in August or Sanctuary or Absalom, Absalom! or Go Down Moses; Barn Burning, A Rose for Emily, Dry September, That Evening Sun  

17. John Doss Passos : USA Trilogy ( with omissions ); Manhattan Transfer

18. Sinclair Lewis : Babbitt ; Main Street

19. James D. Farrell : Studs Lonigan

20. John Steinbeck : Grapes of Wrath

21. Nathanael West : The Day of the Locust; Miss Lonelyhearts

22. Robert Frost : ten major poems ( not less than 500 lines )

23. T. S. Eliot : The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock, The Waste Land, Ash Wednesday ; Tradition and the Individual Talent, The Metaphysical Poets

24. Ezra Pound : Hugh Selwyn Mauberley ( 1-5 and Evoi ), Portrait d ùne femme, River Merchant’s Wife : extracts from letters and essays

25. William Carlos Williams : The Red Wheelbarrow, A Sort of Song By the Road to the Contagious Hospital, Yachts etc.

26. Eugene O’Neill : 2-3 Plays

            Contemporary writers :

27. Saul Bellow : Herzog, Humboldt’s Gift

28. Vladimir Nabokov : Lolita

29. Bernard Malamud : The Assistant and Stories from The Magic Barrel

30. Philip Roth : Portnoy’s Complaint

31. Ralph Ellison : Invisible Man

32. John Updike : Rabbit, Run ; The Centaur, Couples

33. Norman Mailer : The Naked and the Dead , Armies of the Night

34. Joseph Heller : Catch 22, Something Happened

35. K. Kesey : One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

36. Tennessee Williams : The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire

37. Edward Albee: Who’s Afraid of Virgiania Woolf + two plays

38. Arthur Miller : The Death of a Salesman + two plays

39. Sam Shepard : three plays

Students are also encouraged to read according to their own choice works by other more recent writers such as: Thomas Pynchon, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, E.M. Doctorow, Paul Auster, Raymond Carver, Kurt Vonnegut, James Baldwin, Carson McCullers, Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, Donald Barthleme, John Barth, Truman Capote, Don DeLillo, William Gladdis, Allen Ginsberg, John Hawkes, Jack Kerouac, Jerzy Kosinsky, Jay McInarney, N. Scott Momaday, Joyce Carol Oats, Lesli Marmon Silko, Tom Wolfe, etc.

Web links prepared by Ana Naglic