E 338 • American Literature from 1865 to the Present
12:00 PM-1:00 PM
We will read closely poems and short stories, primarily, looking at the effect and significance of the style, especially the voice encoded in the writing - where it is coming from (point of view, "focalization"), what registers (colloquial, formal, etc.) it speaks in, what kind of self it implies, what relation this self has to the social and political world, what literary and social conventions shaped it and seem to be shaped by it. This will bring up questions of race, gender, and class but also of the possibilities of role playing and the languages, if there are such, of moral personhood, of joy and of despair.
(1) TWO 5 page papers and perhaps some quizzes if I start drawing blanks in class discussion. I will also take account of excessive absences. Unexcused absences of 2 in a row or 5 overall may figure in your grade. Be direct and clear and have an interesting thesis.
(2) A TERM PAPER of 10+ pages requiring research. The term paper will be preceded by (A) a description of the paper project: topic, thesis, what research you plan and (B) a first draft of the paper. The final paper will count as half the grade. It should be on a work assigned in the course, argue a significant question, one which interests you enough so you want to interest others in it. It can approach the work in terms of its implicit politics or psychology or philosophy, how it deals with issues of race or gender, how it works artistically. Your research could focus on literary criticism, history, politics, psychology, philosophy, whatever, so long as it is intellectually responsible and makes sense. You should follow the MLA format for a published article.
I expect regular attendance and 2 straight unexplained absences may lead to you being dismissed from the course at whatever your current grade, undone assignments counting zero.
The American Tradition in Literature, Volume 2, 11th edition, McGraw-Hill, eds. George and Barbara Perkins