About This Chapter
Overview of 20th Century American Literature - Chapter Summary
This chapter analyzes the works and styles of major American authors of the 20th century. Review the lessons to see biographies and writings of some of the major authors from this time, such as J.D. Salinger and Ralph Ellison. You'll also be able to see an analysis of some of their works as well as characteristics of their writing styles.. After completing this chapter, you should be able to do the following:
- Discuss the contemporary period in American literature and list major works and authors of the time
- Provide characterizations of American feminist literature
- Explain what the Beat Generation is and provide characteristics of beat poetry
- Provide an analysis of such works as 'Invisible Man,' 'Black Boy,' 'Catcher in the Rye,' and 'On the Road'
- Discuss the biography and works of William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, J.D. Salinger, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Arthur Miller, and Tennessee Williams
Each video lesson has an available text transcript for those who are more comfortable reading, and this can be printed to study offline. Use the quizzes to test your understanding of these literature topics, and the dashboard helps you keep track of where you are and allows you to jump to specific authors or works at your convenience.
1. The Contemporary Period in American Literature
Learn about how Contemporary literature developed and understand its fundamental characteristics. Find out how American history and cultural norms really defined and developed the Contemporary period in American literature.
2. Contemporary American Literature: Authors and Major Works
This lesson helps you decipher pieces of contemporary American literature by looking at famous examples from some of the greatest authors of the time.
3. Tennessee Williams: Biography, Works, and Style
This lesson provides insight into the life, work and style of one of the most influential playwrights of our time, Tennessee Williams. His major works include 'A Streetcar Named Desire' and 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.'
4. Arthur Miller: Biography and Major Plays
In this lesson, we will talk about the life of one of America's greatest playwrights, Arthur Miller. We will take a close look at his role in the American political scene of the 1950s and give insight into some of his most influential works.
5. Ralph Ellison: Invisible Man Summary and Analysis
If people only see you as a part of a race, and not as an individual, are you still a person? In this lesson, we'll analyze Ralph Ellison's important and critically acclaimed novel, 'Invisible Man.'
6. Richard Wright's Black Boy: Summary and Analysis
After his fiction masterpiece 'Native Son,' Richard Wright wrote a deeply personal and moving autobiography, covering his childhood in the South and his life as an adult in Chicago. In this lesson, we'll explore 'Black Boy.'
7. J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye: Summary and Analysis
J.D. Salinger's novel tells the story of Holden Caulfield, a literary figure you'll either love or hate. Watch this video to find out which camp you fall into!
8. The Beat Generation: Characteristics of Beat Poetry
It's a movement that began with a howl, and it had a major impact on both poetry and culture in America. In this lesson, we'll cover the Beat Generation and review the defining characteristics of their style.
9. Jack Kerouac: On the Road and Other Works
Jack Kerouac didn't just name the Beat Generation, for many people, he defines it. In this lesson, we'll explore 'On the Road, his seminal work, while also reviewing his biography and other notable novels.
10. William S. Burroughs: Biography, Writings, and Style of a Beat
Writer, traveler, collaborator, painter, addict, icon...the labels that describe William S. Burroughs never stop. In this lesson, we'll look at the life and writings of the member of the Beat generation who gave us 'Naked Lunch' and much more.
11. American Feminist Literature: Definition & Characteristics
Welcome to the world of American feminist literature! Meet a few well-known American feminist writers. Learn their histories and what inspired them. Read on to learn more about this fascinating genre!
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Other chapters within the CLEP Analyzing & Interpreting Literature: Study Guide & Test Prep course
- Improving Reading Comprehension
- Types of Poetry
- Principles of Prose
- Dramatic Literature
- Elements of Literature
- Romantic British Literature
- Romantic British Poetry
- Victorian Era British Literature
- Modern Era British Literature
- American Literature Foundations
- American Romantic Literature
- American Literary Developments
- Modern Era American Literature
- Modern American Poetry
- Literary Works in Translation
- Basics of Writing Essays
- CLEP Analyzing & Interpreting Literature Flashcards
- Additional CLEP Analyzing & Interpreting Literature Flashcards