E 376L • Literature of Slavery-W
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
This course explores fictional and non-fictional representations of slavery in the United States written during the era of slavery and afterwards. Throughout our efforts will be to understand how these writings raise important questions about the power of literature to represent and shape society. Much of this work is autobiographical or based on real-life events: where and how do we draw the line between fact and fiction? Much of this work was written to address or change real-life political situations: how do stories serve as arguments, and how do writers use language to motivate readers to change their minds about an issue? And much of this work deals with painful personal and cultural experiences, the unthinkable horror of being denied identity and self-ownership: how have writers used a variety of literary techniques to attempt to comprehend and communicate experiences far removed from readers' (and sometimes writers') everyday lives? How do different readers evaluate the success or failure of these techniques?
Three 5-7-page papers, 30% each; Class Participation, 10%
Texts: Slave Narratives, Eds. William Andrews and Henry Louis Gates; Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin; Reed, Flight to Canada; Morrison, Beloved; Styron, Confessions of Nat Turner