E 379S • Senior Seminar
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
RESTRICTED TO MEMBERS OF THE ENGLISH HONORS PROGRAM
This course will build towards a reading of Ralph Ellisons 1952 novel, Invisible Man. Toward that end, we will make use of the resources gathered in Cultural Contexts for Ralph Ellisons Invisible Man (ed. Sundquist), but above all, we will devote our early attention to that literary predecessor to whom Ellison himself gives pride of place. Invisible Man famously opens with an epigraph from Melville; accordingly, a large portion of our syllabus will be devoted to an exploration of some of Melvilles major works. Inevitably, Melvilles texts make their own contextual demands; as we will not have the luxury of pursuing an infinite regress of sources, we will focus our attention upon a few additional key works that may enrich our understanding of both the authors featured in the course. For example, Ralph Waldo Emersons Nature should prove illuminating to our readings of the works of both Herman Melville and Ralph Waldo Ellison.
Three essays (two essays of 5-6 pages each, one essay of 6-8 pages) will make up the bulk of the final grade. Grading of written work will be on a portfolio basis, to provide opportunity and incentive for revisions. Attendance is mandatory; some combination of brief focused response writings and/or reading quizzes will be a regular feature of the course, to be used as catalysts for discussion.
Essay 1: 22.5%
Essay 2: 22.5%
Essay 3: 25.0%
Class participation: 30.0%