New York Stories

Module code: AM3043

If the 20th century was the century of the city, then no city exercised a stronger grip on the literary imagination than New York. This course gives you the chance to explore an exciting variety of stories and novels written in and about New York between the end of the 19th century and the dawn of the 21st.

How did writers try to represent the diversity of the urban American melting-pot and how did these representations change over time? How did the literature of New York reflect wider cultural trends? And how did the fictions of the city incorporate the experiences of hitherto marginalised groups like immigrants, women and African Americans?

Through the detailed study of key literary texts within their historical and cultural contexts, we will try to answer these questions. You'll explore some of the major forms, genres and themes of modern and contemporary fiction, and think about the central role that the city – and New York in particular – has played in modern literary culture.


  • 20 hours of seminars
  • 2 hours of practical classes and workshops
  • 128 hours of guided independent study


  • Essay, preceded by 500 word formative preparatory piece (100%)