E 340 • The American Novel Before 1920
5:00 PM-6:30 PM
The story of novels written in the United States to 1920, told in relation to major political and aesthetic movements in the Anglophone world. Fundamental questions about the genre and its contentious development will be raised as we explore the relationship of US-based long fiction to movements such as the Gothic, Realism, and Naturalism, and to modes such as the picturesque, the sublime, and the sentimental. We will ask, among other things, how the novel changed peoples' ideas about themselves, sent people to war, and built or broke down ideas about "America," race, gender, and religion.
Three short written assignments and two examinations. Brief focused response writings and/or reading quizzes. Attendance is mandatory; repeated unexcused absences will lower your grade.
Nine novels, to include Rowson, Charlotte Temple; Brown, Ormond; Child, Hobomok; Johnson, Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man; Griggs, Imperium in Imperio; Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance. Supplementary readings will be made available during the semester in PDF format on the Blackboard site for the course.