CLEP Humanities : Identifying Titles, Authors, or Schools of Twentieth-Century Fiction

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for CLEP Humanities

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Identifying Titles, Authors, Or Schools Of Twentieth Century Fiction

Which novelist was the author of Lolita, Pale Fire, and Pnin?

Possible Answers:

Milan Kundera

Franz Kafka

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Vladimir Nabokov

Philip Roth

Correct answer:

Vladimir Nabokov

Explanation:

Vladimir Nabokov was born in Russia in 1899, but became a famous author after moving to Western Europe and writing in English and French as well as Russian. A master prose stylist in three languages, Nabokov's books had innovative structures or unusual topics, like 1955's Lolita, about a pedophile; 1957's Pnin, about a Russian professor at an American college; and 1962's Pale Fire, about a poem by the same name as the book's title.

Example Question #2 : Identifying Titles, Authors, Or Schools Of Twentieth Century Fiction

Milan Kundera is most well-known as the author of the novel __________.

Possible Answers:

War and Peace

The Swell Season

The Castle

The Unberable Lightness of Being

Crime and Punishment

Correct answer:

The Unberable Lightness of Being

Explanation:

Kundera, a native Czech citizen, wrote The Unbearable Lightness of Being about the Prague Spring of 1968 while in exile in France in 1982. Banned in his native Czechoslovakia, the text was first published in French, with the original Czech version only being published two years later. Kundera still lives in France, and now considers himself a French writer.

Example Question #3 : Identifying Titles, Authors, Or Schools Of Twentieth Century Fiction

Which of the following books was not written by Ernest Hemingway?

Possible Answers:

All Quiet on the Western Front

The Old Man and the Sea

For Whom the Bell Tolls

A Farewell to Arms

The Sun Also Rises

Correct answer:

All Quiet on the Western Front

Explanation:

All Quiet on the Western Front, written by the German writer Erich Maria Remarque, shares many similarities with some of Ernest Hemingway's novels, as it is set during World War I and based on the author's experiences. However, Hemingway's distinctive style, modernist narrative structure, terse language, and glorification of machismo are almost polar opposites to Remarque's style.

Example Question #4 : Identifying Titles, Authors, Or Schools Of Twentieth Century Fiction

The short story collection A Good Man is Hard to Find was written by which Southern author?

Possible Answers:

Eudora Welty

Tennessee Williams

Flannery O'Connor

Margaret Mitchell

William Faulkner

Correct answer:

Flannery O'Connor

Explanation:

Although Flannery O'Connor wrote two novels, she was most famous for her short stories, which were first collected in the volume A Good Man is Hard to Find, published in 1955. The stories in the collection featured many of O'Connor's hallmarks, including grotesque characters, allegorical tales, depictions of societal issues, Southern locations, and shocking plot turns. O'Connor's other collection, Everything That Rises Must Converge, was published in 1965 after her death.

Example Question #3 : Identifying Titles, Authors, Or Schools Of Twentieth Century Fiction

Ernest Hemingway wrote which of the following novels?

Possible Answers:

For Whom the Bell Tolls

1984

Moby Dick; or, The Whale

Middlemarch

A Passage to India

Correct answer:

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Explanation:

Hemingway wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls after participating in the Spanish Civil War.

Example Question #4 : Identifying Titles, Authors, Or Schools Of Twentieth Century Fiction

Who is the American novelist who wrote Portnoy's Complaint, The Great American Novel, and Zuckerman Unbound?

Possible Answers:

Philip Roth

Saul Bellow

John Updike

Norman Mailer

Kurt Vonnegut

Correct answer:

Philip Roth

Explanation:

Philip Roth is one of the most important American authors of the twentieth century. Roth's style is notable for using absurd and outlandish humor in stories that often comment on the Jewish experience in America. Roth's Portnoy's Complaint (1969) is an inversion on the coming of age novel; The Great American Novel (1973) is a story about a baseball league that comments on American politics; and Zuckerman Unbound (1981) is a roman à clef that features an author who is very much like Roth.

Example Question #7 : Identifying Titles, Authors, Or Schools Of Twentieth Century Fiction

The British author Arthur Conan Doyle created which famous literary character?

Possible Answers:

Fitzwilliam Darcy

David Copperfield

Phillip Marlowe

John Carter

Sherlock Holmes

Correct answer:

Sherlock Holmes

Explanation:

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is primarily known for writing about one character, the brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes. First appearing in publication in 1887's A Study in Scarlet, Holmes would appear in four novels and fifty-six short stories. The character is one of the most famous and well-loved in world literature, and has appeared in numerous films.

Example Question #8 : Identifying Titles, Authors, Or Schools Of Twentieth Century Fiction

The novel Siddhartha, which depicts a fictional account of the Buddha's life, was written by __________.

Possible Answers:

Rainer Maria Rilke

Franz Kafka

Herman Hesse

Vladimir Nabokov

Felix Salten

Correct answer:

Herman Hesse

Explanation:

Siddhartha, originally published in 1922, was a highly influential novel, especially because of its religious themes, simple and lyrical style, and its exploration of self-discovery. The novel shares many of these themes with other novels written by Herman Hesse, such as 1927's Steppenwolfe and 1943's The Glass Bead Game. For his life's work, Hesse won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1944.

Example Question #5 : Identifying Titles, Authors, Or Schools Of Twentieth Century Fiction

The author H.P. Lovecraft is known for writing in what genre?

Possible Answers:

Romance

Mystery

Horror

Noir

Pastoral

Correct answer:

Horror

Explanation:

H.P. Lovecraft was a writer who toiled away in his own life in relative obscurity, writing horror and science fiction pieces for small magazines. After his death in 1937, however, Lovecraft's stories, which featured otherworldly scenarios, horrible creatures, and threats to humanity, gained a larger popularity. In modern times, Lovecraft is seen as one of the foremost science fiction and horror authors.

Example Question #6 : Identifying Titles, Authors, Or Schools Of Twentieth Century Fiction

Which of the following is the modernist novel that covers the travails of an Irishman named Leopold Bloom?

Possible Answers:

The Invisible Man

Lady Chatterley's Lover

The Sound and the Fury

Ulysses

Remembrance of Things Past

Correct answer:

Ulysses

Explanation:

James Joyce stands as one of the leading modernist writers, creating stream-of-conscious novels that tell mundane stories in inventive ways. Joyce's most famous work is Ulysses, published fully in 1922. The story covers one day in the life of Leopold Bloom, while making comparisons to the Greek epic The Odyssey with a variety of verbal and literary flourishes.

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