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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Fall 2008

E 316K • Masterworks of Literature: American (34800-34855)

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34800 TTh
12:30 PM-2:00 PM

Course Description

Multimedia Approach: Critical Reading, Thinking, Writing--
"American Literature," according to Daniel Aaron, "is the most searching and unabashed criticism of our national limitations that exists." This course aims at examining these limitations through a selective reading of major American writers from the 17th to the 20th century, tracing the development of major literary forms, themes, and historical and cultural trends.

Explicit throughout the course will be the notion that "texts are places where power and weakness become visible and discussable, where learning and ignorance manifest themselves, where structures that enable and constrain our thoughts and actions become palpable." At its most fundamental level, then, this course will use the study of literature to help its students become better readers, writers, and thinkers. But also at stake in this course will be the notion of an "American identity," the historical emergence of something called "American Literature," and the ways in which the issues of race, class, region, sexuality, and gender affect these constructions.

Grading Policy

Grades will be based on reading journals (20%), class discussion, quizzes, and attendance (20%), as well as on papers (40%), and an exam (20%).

Only one unexcused absence allowed from lectures and one from discussion sections -- extra absences will affect your final average. The TA in your discussion section has the option of passing out extra materials and giving short quizzes.


Required Texts:
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Samuel Clemens
The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros
In Our Time, Ernest Hemingway
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Frederick Douglass
Sula, Toni Morrison
Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino
Packet of Xeroxes available at Speedway Copies & Printing (in the Dobie Mall)

Recommended Texts:
The Little Penguin Handbook, Lester Faigley


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