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Old 2008-03-27, 00:39   Link #1
iKumdo
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American Literature

I was wondering, is American Literature studied in your home country (other than America)? I'm talking about either on the high school level, or the "general education" level of college (the first two years usually). If you do, which authors and works do you study? I'm especially curious about the situation in England.
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Old 2008-03-27, 09:31   Link #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iKumdo View Post
I was wondering, is American Literature studied in your home country (other than America)? I'm talking about either on the high school level, or the "general education" level of college (the first two years usually). If you do, which authors and works do you study? I'm especially curious about the situation in England.
English textbooks in Japanese highschools often contain Amrican short stories such as O. Henry's. A. G. Bierce and E. A. Poe had great influence on the development of Japanese literature, so not only students of Anglo-American literature but also freshers of Japanese literature study them. Of course Salinger is very popular among the youth, and some enthusiastic fans worship Pynchon.

Here is an example of English textbook for high schools;
http://tb.sanseido.co.jp/english/h-e...dition.html#05
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Old 2008-03-27, 10:10   Link #3
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Just only mentioned Poe once, as I remember. But, I'm still in High School. (And I'm Hungarian.) They only teaching European literature, mostly English, France and Russian, and of course Hungarian Literature.
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Old 2008-03-27, 16:41   Link #4
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Hum... nice question, but for me I was brought up in the United States and haven't left yet so I can't answer that for you >.<
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Old 2008-03-27, 16:52   Link #5
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At secondary school in England I studied Death of a Salesman as a key text as well some Poe and Flannery O'Connor stories (which was covered in less detail). If you mean the Americas beyond the USA, we also covered Margaret Atwood. I don't think that there's any kind of fixed American literature component, but texts from across the pond do get onto the syllabus with fair regularity, from what I've seen.

Can't tell you too much about university level, but I'd assume there's quite a lot of American literature being covered. Most of your best respected writers to be well known by all the literary types I've met, and there's generally a lot of interest in the USA floating about. If I had to make a generalisation though, I'd say that it's mostly the 20th century writers who get attention - anyone from about 1920-80 would be most likely to get some love.
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Old 2008-03-28, 00:04   Link #6
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I asked the question mainly because I was curious about if England reads the literature from the US of A. I was curious about that because we spend a ton of time studying British Literature here in the USA, and we still have to cover both American and Native American literatures. There is a lot of important pieces of British literature, so would English schools bother with studying American literature? Especially since the more important American literature doesn't happen till like the 19th/20th century.
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Old 2008-03-28, 10:17   Link #7
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Wait, what? I totally missed that -- I went to schools on both the west and east coast of the US and I only remember studying a handful of English writers, many of them only because of having to learn old English. I remember studying even less Native American literature. Schools across the country are so inconsistent, I'd be careful about generalizing...
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Old 2008-03-28, 11:07   Link #8
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I live in New Jersey and my high school devoted an entire year of English class to British Literature. That was sophomore year, and in other years we read a total of three Shakespeare plays.
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Old 2008-03-28, 12:42   Link #9
iKumdo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Risaa View Post
Wait, what? I totally missed that -- I went to schools on both the west and east coast of the US and I only remember studying a handful of English writers, many of them only because of having to learn old English. I remember studying even less Native American literature. Schools across the country are so inconsistent, I'd be careful about generalizing...

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Originally Posted by Autumn Demon View Post
I live in New Jersey and my high school devoted an entire year of English class to British Literature. That was sophomore year, and in other years we read a total of three Shakespeare plays.
I live in CA, and we spent just about the same amount of time on British Literature. Maybe in your moving back and forth from the coasts, you skipped the British literature you studied? Like in some states/cities sophomore year is British Literature, and other places junior year is Brit. There's also always Shakespeare.

Currently I double major in literature and creative writing. For both of those majors, there are more British literature requirements than for American.
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Old 2008-03-28, 12:55   Link #10
Stimson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iKumdo View Post
There is a lot of important pieces of British literature, so would English schools bother with studying American literature? Especially since the more important American literature doesn't happen till like the 19th/20th century.
Basically that's right on - we mostly read the modern stuff. I don't know many (British) people who've read much early American literature (or any native American writing) outside of an academic context. But there's a lot of interest in modern American literature - the likes of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Updike, Bellow, Roth, Pynchon etc. are generally seen as very important (and excellent).

I mean the 'culture industries' in Britain are quite linked to America. We hear about high profile contemporary writers, most of us consume a lot of American art/entertainment. By and large when people read 'the classics' American stuff won't be that popular (compared to say, Russian and French translated works). But when people read more recent literary work they're pretty likely to pick up a US author - 'cos it feels like our literary 'scenes' are kind of connected, and that it's impossible to really understand modern writing without taking into account your great writers. So yeah, there's a lot of respect for American writers, mostly the modern ones, and few people who care about books are so insular that they wouldn't bother engaging with all that great stuff.
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