E 316K • Masterworks of Literature: American (33890-33935)
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
Because this course covers the broad range of American literature, nearly four centuries of writing, it will necessarily involve a rich variety of nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and drama. We will begin by examining the origins of American literature from its colonial beginnings in New England in the 17th century through the Enlightenment of the 18th century and the particular brand of Romanticism that marked the early 19th century. Then we will focus on a myriad of American voices of the late 19th and 20th centuries, noting, as we proceed, both continuities and innovations. We will be particularly interested in women and minority writers, and certain longer texts--by Crane, Plath, and O'Brien--will provide special opportunities to study the relationship between a particular work and the history and culture in which it is grounded. Throughout we will seek to define and elucidate a genuine national literature that is powerful, multicultural, and inclusive. There is a fair amount of reading to be done in this class, but the rewards in seeking to understand America's past and present are immense.
Quizzes & discussion section participation 25%
First exam 20%
Second exam 25%
Final exam 30%
Punctual attendance to all class meetings (to be explained further in course policy handout).
Additionally, Discussion Sessions with your respective TAs are mandatory. (TAs have the option of passing out extra materials and giving short quizzes, for which you will be responsible.)
McMichael, ed., Concise Anthology of American Literature, 6th ed.
Stephen Crane, Maggie, A Girl of the Streets, and Other New York Writings
Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Tim O'Brien, In the Lake of the Woods