American Literature and Culture

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

This course provides students with an introduction to and knowledge of different aspects of American literature and culture from historical, social, and aesthetic perspectives. A central element of ENG122 is textual analysis in the main literary genres of prose, poetry, and drama, which are taught with the aim to develop the students' abilities to identify and discuss thematic concerns and (formal and thematic) literary and aesthetic features while also addressing a variety of approaches to reading and interpretation.

Through analyses of a range of literary works students gain an understanding of the most important periods and main developments in American literature and culture, often in relation to key socio-cultural and political contexts. In addition, the course aims to to develop the students' critical, analytic, linguistic and problem-solving skills. Through written assignments and oral presentations, students also enhance their oral and written skills in academic English.

Learning Outcomes


Having completed ENG122 the student:

- has a basic understanding of American literature and culture in a historical context

- has developed the ability to independent, critical reading of primary texts, based in analyses of fictional and non-fictional texts

- has an understanding of the relationship between primary texts and the broader historical, social and political frameworks that they are in dialogue with.

- has an understanding of the characteristics of the different literary genres included in the course, such as the novel, short story, drama, poetry, as well as non-fiction texts.


Having completed ENG122 the the student has learnt to:

- express, in writing and orally, their knowledge of American literature and culture clearly organized and formulated in appropriate, academic English

- identify and analyze the main aspects of literary works, dramatic genres, and narrative techniques

- describe generally the main periods and movements in American literary history and the transitions between them

- identify the origin and development of main literary genres and understand the relation between historical- cultural context and texts

- analyze texts according to genre and central literary terms

- read across literary periods and themes

- show understanding that literary texts can be analyzed with different theoretical/methodological approaches

- critically engage with scholarly concepts and methods

General competence:

Having completed ENG122 the student

- can demonstrate their familiarity with basic analytical tools and techniques

- can respond independently and creatively to various literary works in appropriate academic oral and written English

- can describe, explain and analyse specific topics in American literature

- describe, analyse and interpret a variety of literary texts

- discuss and assess the significance of historical and cultural contexts for the interpretation of language and texts

- think and argue analytically, critically, and independently about topics within the course

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction


Place of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
None; see Recommended previous knowledge/training
Recommended Previous Knowledge

It is strongly advised that the students, in addition to fulfilling the Higher Education Entrance Qualification, also have good results from specialized courses in English from Upper Secondary School.

For students with a background other than the Norwegian school system, a level of competence in English corresponding to C1 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is recommended.

Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
Credits cannot be awarded for both ENG122 and ENG122L.
Access to the Course

The course is open to all students admitted to the University of Bergen.

For exchange students:

Applicants have to document English language proficiency to access the course. Students should hold a level of C1 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR). For valid tests, please see

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and seminars: up to 72 hours.

Students are expected to consistently and actively participate in the scheduled teaching. This expectation is also the basis for the preparation towards the exam.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Seminar attendance is obligatory. Students must attend at least 80% of the seminars.

In order to take the exam, students are required to complete and pass two different, compulsory assignments connected to the seminars. They will be a combination of one individual oral presentation, and/or oral presentation in groups of two or three students, and/or respond to oral presentation, and/or short written assignments on site in the seminars with peer review, and/or submission of short written works of 300 words, and/or leading discussions in seminars. The exact combination of assignments and their deadlines will be announced on Mitt UiB at the beginning of the semester. All compulsory assignments must be completed in the same semester.

Compulsory assignments are valid for two semesters after the teaching semester.

Forms of Assessment
The exam is a five-hour school exam, where students are examined from the entire curriculum.
Grading Scale
The grading scale is A-F, where F is a fail.
Assessment Semester
Autumn. The exam in ENG122 is only offered in the teaching semester.
Reading List

The curriculum includes literary and historical periods, historical events, and representative fictional and non- fictional texts starting with the seventeenth century.

The reading list will be available by 1 July for the Autumn semester.

Course Evaluation
The teaching is evaluated according to the quality assurance system of the University of Bergen.
Examination Support Material
Students are allowed to use a monolingual (English-English) dictionary during school examination. The Department will provide additional information concerning permitted dictionaries.
Programme Committee
The Programme Board is responsible for the academic content and structure of the study programme, and for the quality of all the subjects therein.
Course Administrator
The Department of Foreign Languages at the Faculty of Humanities has the administrative responsibility for the course and the study programme.