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

Fall 2004

E 316K • Masterworks of Literature: American (CONNEXUS)

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
32350 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
PAR 204

Course Description

This course will provide an overview of U.S./ American literary history. It will place particular emphasis on how literature and other written texts record and provide memory of the traumas that are at the heart of the founding of the U.S. as a nation and the colonization of the Americas. We will use the Heath Anthology, which seeks to provide a revisionist literary history. The course will be divided into three clusters that explore 1) the multiple origins of the U.S. nation and the effects of colonization; 2) slavery, African diaspora, and the creation of African American cultures; and 3) the role of migration, urbanization, and industrialism in creating a modern U.S. culture. In addition to reading brief excerpts from the anthology in order to provide a sense of the broad range of American literatures, we will also read a few texts in detail, including The House of the Seven Gables, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, one of the most central writers in American literary history, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the controversial novel whose sentimentality has been the subject of renewed attention especially from feminist critics, and a contemporary novel to be announced. The course will introduce students to the methods of literary study and cultural analysis in order to make them better readers of the texts that surround them in everyday life. We will also consider the value of remembering American cultural history for living in the present.

Grading Policy

Weekly short papers and on-line assignment 50%
Two 5-page paper 30%
Attendance, class participation, and in-class quizzes 20%


The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Concise Edition (Houghton-Mifflin 0-618-25663-6)
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables (Penguin 0-14-039005-7)
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin (Penguin 0-14-039003-0)
Contemporary Novel, TBA


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