Palgrave Macmillan has published a new book by Dr Sue Norton, Lecturer of English at TU Dublin, and Professor Laurence Mazzeno, President Emeritus of Alvernia University, Reading, PA.
Contemporary American Fiction: Teaching and Texts (2022) arises from several years of research and collaboration with nineteen academics from across the continent, Ireland, Great Britain, and the United States. It offers experiential insight into the ways European students enrolled in universities come to understand the United States through its literature, which for decades has been a key component of American Studies curricula across Europe.
The project came about because the editors wanted to understand how American works of fiction are presented in European university classrooms and why they have been chosen for inclusion in coursework. What they discovered was a diverse range of scholars and a wide array of pedagogic approaches, authors, and texts. Inside their classrooms, lecturers of literature in Europe are assessing the ideological legacy of the Cold War and the ever-shifting forces of globalisation. They are exploring freedom and idealism in racially and sexually polarised democracies, as well as the eco-critical narratives of climate change. Perhaps most informatively, they are fostering the cultural acumen of their students as meaning-makers of tomorrow through the practice of literary analysis.
Sue Norton will continue to focus on this area of research. She will present a paper on representations of women in male-authored fiction at the American Literature Association Conference in Chicago this year. She has also been invited to give a paper at a University of Nottingham symposium on “American Literature and its Travels” in 2023. Since 2015, she and Professor Mazzeno have collaborated on other projects and papers. They published European Perspectives on John Updike in 2018.