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20th- and 21st-Century Literary Studies

Students interested in modern or postmodern literatures and cultures will find a variety of ways to pursue their interests within the Purdue English Department.

Officially, students usually choose from among the following areas of concentration:

  • British Literature from 1880 to the Present
  • American Literature 1900 to 1940
  • American Literature 1940 to the Present

Alternatively, students sometimes prefer to concentrate in Theory and Cultural Studies, while taking courses and writing theses in modern and postmodern literature. Our core faculty include Marlo David, John Duvall, Wendy Flory, Jennifer Freeman Marshall, Maren Linett, Alfred Lopez, Robert Marzec, Daniel Morris, Nancy Peterson, and Aparajita Sagar.

Unofficially, students can study a wide range of modern and postmodern literatures and cultures, choosing from among period and genre courses (500-level) and more specialized courses (600-level).

The Purdue English department proudly houses one of the foremost journals of modern literature: MFS enhances the graduate experience of our students by a) hiring two advanced graduate students each year as editorial assistants; b) providing opportunities for advanced students to publish reviews of scholarly books; and c) housing the department's unofficial library where students can stop by and browse current issues of various literary and scholarly journals and borrow books relating to modern fiction. MFS also sponsors a TA line each year for an especially promising student working in the area of 20th and 21st-century studies, thus ensuring that our cohort will always benefit from strong new voices. (Meet our newest MFS TA, Erika Gotfredson!)

The department also sponsors a literary awards competition, for which students are invited to submit both scholarly and creative work. Prizes are awarded at an annual banquet, where an eminent writer speaks about the creative process. After the banquet, the writer reads from her or his work at a public lecture. This set of events is one of the most exciting of the Purdue year.

Other resources that may be of interest to students of modern and contemporary literature are Purdue's many fine interdisciplinary programs within the College of Liberal Arts, such as Comparative Literature, Women's Studies, African-American Studies, American Studies, Film Studies, and Jewish Studies.