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Elizabeth Cullingford, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2009

E 316K • Masterworks of Literature: American (33930-33985)

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
33930 TTh
12:30 PM-2:00 PM

Course Description

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, O'Brien, and McCarthy--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.

Grading Policy

Quizzes and Discussion Section Participation 15%
First Exam 25%
Second Exam 30%
Final Exam 30%
Punctual attendance for all class meetings.

Discussion Sessions with your respective TAs are mandatory. TA sessions may frequently include 10-20 question quizzes.


The Norton Anthology of American Literature, shorter 6th edition, Nina Baym, general editor
Stephen Crane, Maggie, A Girl of the Street, 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
Cormac McCarthy, The Road


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