BAAmerican Poetry in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Credit points: 5
Contact hours: 60
Type: Seminar Classes


Danica Čerče, PhD, Professor

Course Description

Aims and Specific Competences:

  • Acquaintance with the major literary trends and movements in the American poetry of the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • Discussion of the principal American poets and examination of alternative readings against the background of historical as well as contemporary social, political, and cultural constellations both in America and Slovenia.
  • Study of specific dimensions of cross-cultural reading and interpreting poetic texts along with a number of other pragmatic circumstances which may profoundly affect our literary response.
  • Insight into relevant mechanisms and principles of the Slovene reception of American literature.


The seminar work is divided into seven thematic sections:

  • the formative period of modern American poetry in the 19th century (W. Whitman, E. A. Poe, E. Dickinson);
  • American modernism (E. Pond, T. S. Eliot, W. Stevens);
  • traditionalism in modern American poetry (R. Frost, E. A. Robinson);
  • the issue of African-American poetry (L. Hughes, C. Cullen, G. Brooks, L. Clifton);
  • American experimental modernism (E. E. Cummings); the beat generation (A. Ginsberg, L. Ferlinghetti, G. Corso, G. Snyder);
  • confessional poetry (S. Plath, R. Lowell);
  • contemporary American poetry (J. Ashbery, C. Simic, M. Strand).

A comprehensive study of these issues makes it possible for the students to critically assess the evolvement of American poetical thought in a wider national and international context.

Course Literature:

  • Avanzo, M. ed. 1986. Antologija ameriške poezije 20. stoletja. Ljubljana: CZ. Str.: 542.
  • Ellman, R., and R. O’Clair, eds. 1988. The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry. New York & London: W. W. Norton&Company. Str.: 1865.
  • Gray, R. American Poetry of the Twentieth Century. Longman Literature in English Series. London & New York: Longman. Str.: 424.
  • Grosman, M., ed. 1995. American Literature for Non-American Readers. Frankfurt am Mein/Bern: Peter Lang. Str.: 200.
  • Stanovnik, M. 1980. Angloameriške smeri v 20. stoletju. Literarni leksikon, št. 8. Ljubljana: DZS. Str.: 87.


The final grade is comprised of average of positive marks of the presentation and essay.

Grading scale of 6-10 (pass) and 1-5 (fail), in accordance with the Statutes of the University of Ljubljana and with the examination system of the Faculty of Arts.