E 338 • American Literature: From 1865 to the Present
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
We will read closely poems and short stories, primarily, looking at the effect and significance of the style, especially the voice encoded in the writing--where it is coming from (point of view, "focalization"), what registers (colloquial, formal, etc.) it speaks in, what kind of self it implies, what relation this self has to the social and political world, what literary and social conventions shaped it and seem to be shaped by it. This will bring up questions of race and gender but also of the possibilities of role-playing and the languages of moral personhood, of joy and of despair. The writings will go from Whitman and Dickinson to Updike and Oates--may I say, a selected and varied Whitman's Sampler.
Grades will be based primarily on two 5-page papers and a term paper of 10-15 pages. The term paper will be preceded by a description of the topic, thesis, and approach and a first draft. The term paper will count the same as the two 5-page papers put together. Excessive unexcused absences will count against your grade, as will excessively late assignments. Good class discussion cannot be precisely quantified but will count for you.
The American Tradition in Literature, Volume 2, Ninth Edition, McGraw-Hill