ENG 497 Seminar in English Literature |
Literary Perspectives of American Soldier-Authors Fighting and Writing the Vietnam War
A character in Tim O'Brien's Vietnam novel Going After Cacciato comments that "things may be viewed from many angles. From down below, or from inside out, you often discover entirely new understandings." This course will examine the age-old theme of conflict in general and one war in particular (Vietnam) as viewed from various angles and presented in different literary and media forms (fiction, nonfiction, and film). We will also study the biographical, literary, historical, gender, political, and cultural contexts in which the various works are produced. These prize-winning and highly acclaimed readings will place characters within situations that include Vietnam in the early 1950s and 1960s, ground combat from 1965 to 1975, and the war’s aftermath for Americans and the Vietnamese. We will read texts by American soldier-authors Philip Caputo, Karl Marlantes, Tim O’Brien, Larry Heinemann, and Robert Olen Butler. Our principal goal will be to evaluate the literary treatment of this major historical event and its impact on some of the participants.