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Elizabeth Cullingford, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Evan B Carton

Professor Ph.D., 1979, Johns Hopkins University

Evan B Carton

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Biography

Evan Carton joined the University of Texas at Austin English Department faculty in 1978 and currently holds the Joan Negley Kelleher Centennial Professorship in Rhetoric and Composition. He is the author of two books on 19th century American literature, one on the history of 20th century literary criticism and theory, and, most recently, a narrative non-fiction account of the life and times of the abolitionist John Brown,
entitled Patriotic Treason: John Brown and the Soul of America (New York: Free Press, 2006). In 2001 he founded the University of Texas Humanities Institute, and served as its director until 2009. His current research project--an exploration of charismatic intellectual, religious, and political vocation in America, from the early 19th century to the present--centers around the figures of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Joseph Smith, and John Brown.

Interests

19th and 20th century American literature; literary and cultural theory and historiography; antebellum evangelism, secularism, and radical politics, and their contemporary legacies; the theory and practice of the humanities.

E 316M • American Literature

35410-35455 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 930am-1100am UTC 2.102A
show description

Instructor:  Carton, E

Unique #:  35410-35455

Semester:  Fall 2014

Cross-lists:  n/a

Flags:  Cultural Diversity

Prerequisites: One of the following: E 603A, RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 603A.

Description: Literature and History--

This course will survey American literature in English from the writings of early European settlers in the 17th century to the poetry, fiction, and prose nonfiction of our own time. The goals of the course are multiple: to offer students an overview of the literary history of the United States and, necessarily, of the larger social and cultural histories in which American literature is produced; to examine several different thematic traditions in American literature and life; and, perhaps most importantly, to provide students with a well-stocked “toolbox” of interpretive tools and methods (and with opportunities to use them) that will help them read not only American literature but any form of cultural expression more actively, more insightfully, and more pleasurably. The class won’t be organized as a continuous chronological survey but rather will retrace the course of American literary history through the lenses of several different organizing themes, each represented by one of the founding phrases of the American political imagination: “The Pursuit of Happiness”; “In God We Trust”; “Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death”; and “The Last Best Hope of Earth.”

Texts: The texts for the course will include a large, customized readings packet and one paperback novel.

Requirements & Grading: Students will be responsible for all reading and lecture materials and for regular attendance at lecture and sections. Final grades will be based on lecture and section attendance (20%); three short passage analysis tests (15%); reading quizzes (10%); two out-of-class writing and one out-of class videography assignment (30%); and a final exam (25%). Regular participation and/or energetic engagement in discussion sections may earn up to four extra credit points at the discretion of the Teaching Assistant.

E 316K • Masterworks Of Lit: American

35295-35350 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 930am-1100am WCH 1.120
show description

Instructor:  Carton, E

Unique #:  35295-35350

Semester:  Spring 2014

Cross-lists:  n/a

Prerequisites: E 603A, RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 603A, and a passing score on the reading section of the Texas Higher Education Assessment (THEA) test.

Description: Literature and History--

This course will survey American literature in English from the writings of early European settlers in the 17th century to the poetry, fiction, and prose nonfiction of our own time. The goals of the course are multiple: to offer students an overview of the literary history of the United States and, necessarily, of the larger social and cultural histories in which American literature is produced; to examine several different thematic traditions in American literature and life; and, perhaps most importantly, to provide students with a well-stocked “toolbox” of interpretive tools and methods (and with opportunities to use them) that will help them read not only American literature but any form of cultural expression more actively, more insightfully, and more pleasurably. The class won’t be organized as a continuous chronological survey but rather will retrace the course of American literary history through the lenses of several different organizing themes, each represented by one of the founding phrases of the American political imagination: “The Pursuit of Happiness”; “In God We Trust”; “Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death”; and “The Last Best Hope of Earth.”

Texts: The texts for the course will include a large, customized readings packet and one paperback novel.

Requirements & Grading: Students will be responsible for all reading and lecture materials and for regular attendance at lecture and sections. Final grades will be based on lecture and section attendance (20%); three short passage analysis tests (15%); reading quizzes (10%); two out-of-class writing and one out-of class videography assignment (30%); and a final exam (25%). Regular participation and/or energetic engagement in discussion sections may earn up to four extra credit points at the discretion of the Teaching Assistant.

E 316K • Masterworks Of Lit: American

35155-35170 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm UTC 2.102A
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Instructor:  Carton, E            Areas:  n/a

Unique #:  35155-35170            Flags:  n/a

Semester:  Fall 2013            Restrictions:  n/a

Cross-lists:  n/a            Computer Instruction:  No

Prerequisites: E 603A, RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 603A, and a passing score on the reading section of the Texas Higher Education Assessment (THEA) test.

Description: Literature and History--

This course will survey American literature in English from the writings of early European settlers in the 17th century to the poetry, fiction, and prose nonfiction of our own time. The goals of the course are multiple: to offer students an overview of the literary history of the United States and, necessarily, of the larger social and cultural histories in which American literature is produced; to examine several different thematic traditions in American literature and life; and, perhaps most importantly, to provide students with a well-stocked “toolbox” of interpretive tools and methods (and with opportunities to use them) that will help them read not only American literature but any form of cultural expression more actively, more insightfully, and more pleasurably. The class won’t be organized as a continuous chronological survey but rather will retrace the course of American literary history through the lenses of several different organizing themes, each represented by one of the founding phrases of the American political imagination: “The Pursuit of Happiness”; “In God We Trust”; “Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death”; and “The Last Best Hope of Earth.”

Texts: The texts for the course will include a large, customized readings packet and one paperback novel.

Requirements & Grading: Students will be responsible for all reading and lecture materials and for regular attendance at lecture and sections. Final grades will be based on lecture and section attendance (20%); three short passage analysis tests (15%); reading quizzes (10%); two out-of-class writing and one out-of class videography assignment (30%); and a final exam (25%). Regular participation and/or energetic engagement in discussion sections may earn up to four extra credit points at the discretion of the Teaching Assistant.

E 379R • Literature Of American Warfare

36025 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 930am-1100am CAL 419
(also listed as LAH 350 )
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Instructor:  Carton, E            Areas:  VI / I

Unique #:  36025            Flags:  Independent Inquiry; Writing

Semester:  Fall 2013            Restrictions:  English Honors, Plan I Honors

Cross-lists:  LAH 350            Computer Instruction:  No

Topic previously offered as E 379S (embedded topic: Literature of American Warfare).

Prerequisites: Six semester hours of upper-division coursework in English.

Description: This class will explore the circumstances, practices, collective beliefs and personal experiences of American wars and warfare as represented in fictional and nonfictional accounts, in prose and poetry, and in battlefield and home front representations. Though the course will not be organized chronologically, it will include accounts of and responses to a broad historical array of conflicts from the 17th century wars between the earliest English settlers and the Native American tribes of New England through the Iraq and Afghanistan wars of the young current century. These conflicts will be examined in light of America's changing self-images and position in the world, in light of the U. S.'s westward (and eastward) territorial and imperial expansions, and in light of the powerful and abiding American ideology of perpetual innocence, righteousness, chosenness, and manifest destiny among the nations and of that ideology's equally abiding critique. Contestation over questions of masculinity and femininity, patriotism and treason, and racial identity and otherness will also, inescapably, be matters of concern, as will be questions of the politics and poetics of different media, forms, and genres of war's representation.

Texts: Course readings will likely include short and occasionally longer works by some of the following writers: William Bradford, Mary Rowlandson, James Fenimore Cooper, Henry David Thoreau, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, Louisa May Alcott, Stephen Crane, Ernest Hemingway, Dalton Trumbo, Joseph Heller, Adrienne Rich, Cynthia Ozick, Michael Herr, Myra McPherson, Tim O’Brien, Tobias Wolff, Helena Maria Viramontes, Philip Gourevitch, Helen Benedict, and Kevin Powers.

Requirements & Grading: Students will be evaluated on the basis of class attendance and participation, Blackboard discussion posts, two analytical essays, and a final research paper.

Blackboard discussion posts, 25%; Analytical essays, 30%; Attendance and participation, 20%; Final Research Paper, 25%.

E 377K • American Novel After 1920

35685 • Spring 2013
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am PAR 208
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Instructor:  Carton, E            Areas:  III / U

Unique #:  35685            Flags:  Writing

Semester:  Spring 2013            Restrictions:  n/a

Cross-lists:  n/a            Computer Instruction:  No

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description: A survey of responses by 20th and 21st century American novelists to the terrors and pleasures, marvels and commonplaces, determinisms and freedoms, erotics and ethics of modernity. This course will take up 6-8 novels by regionally, ethnically, aesthetically, and ideologically diverse writers.

Texts: I have not yet chosen readings. My aim is to select novels that, in addition to offering the sorts of range suggested above, will each give some combination of pleasure, provocation, and challenge.

Requirements & Grading: The principal class format will be discussion. Students will be evaluated on two short papers, one of which may be rewritten for credit, a class presentation, occasional unannounced reading quizzes, and a final essay exam. Regular class attendance and participation in discussion will be positively factored into the final course grade.

 

E 349S • Nathaniel Hawthorne

35475 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm GAR 0.120
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Instructor:  Carton, E            Areas:  I / H

Unique #:  35475            Flags:  Writing

Semester:  Fall 2012            Restrictions:  n/a

Cross-lists:  n/a            Computer Instruction:  n/a

Prerequisites: Six semester hours of upper-division coursework in English.

Description: In the decades following American independence, political and intellectual leaders in the U. S. sought out and promoted examples of American literary talent in order to make the nationalistic argument that the young country was developing a culture commensurate with its growing economic and political status in the world. Nathaniel Hawthorne--the son of a Massachusetts sea captain and the descendant of original Puritan settlers in the New World, including a prominent judge who sent 19 accused witches to their deaths in the 1692 Salem witch trials--was an attractive representative of American literary talent, both for his artistic skill as a fabricator of mysterious plots, rich symbolic motifs, and complex moral dilemmas, and for his American historical subject matter. Hawthorne’s canonization as one of the most illustrious representatives of a new American tradition in English-language literature was somewhat ironic, however, since he tended to take a skeptical, or at least an ambivalent, view of many of his countrymen’s leading articles of faith In an optimistic, expansionistic, future-oriented, outward-looking nation that was both entranced with scientific and industrial progress and convinced of its own virtue and piety, Hawthorne often looked backward and looked inward, drawing lessons from American history and from human psychology about some of  the darker dimensions—self-deception, self-righteousness, egotistical overreaching, emotional and physical violence toward others--of economic, political, intellectual, and religious ambition. Yet, it is his very equivocal perspective on the nation’s formative years, circumstances, and principles that makes Hawthorne’s fiction such a revealing and challenging portrait of America.

Texts: Our readings in this class will include all four of Hawthorne’s novels—The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables, The Blithedale Romance, and The Marble Faun, plus a selection of his short stories, passages from his campaign biography for President Franklin Pierce, and his Civil War essay “Chiefly About War Matters, by a Peaceable Man.

Requirements & Grading: Students will write three short (3-4 pp) analytical or bibliographical essays during the semester plus a longer (8-10 pp) research paper. These four pieces of written work will comprise 70% of each student’s course grade. The remaining 30% will be based on attendance and participation and performance on occasional reading quizzes.

E 316K • Masterworks Of Lit: American

34755-34800 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 930am-1100am WCH 1.120
show description

Instructor:  Carton, E            Areas:  n/a

Unique #:  34755-34800            Flags:  n/a

Semester:  Spring 2012            Restrictions:  n/a

Cross-lists:  n/a            Computer Instruction:  No

Prerequisites: Completion of at least thirty semester hours of coursework, including E 603A, RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 603A, and a passing score on the reading section of the Texas Higher Education Assessment (THEA) test.

Description: Literature and History--

This course will survey American literature in English from the writings of early European settlers in the 17th century to the poetry, fiction, and prose nonfiction of our own time. The goals of the course are multiple: to offer students an overview of the literary history of the United States and, necessarily, of the larger social and cultural histories in which American literature is produced; to examine several different thematic traditions in American literature and life; and, perhaps most importantly, to provide students with a well-stocked “toolbox” of interpretive tools and methods (and with opportunities to use them) that will help them read not only American literature but any form of cultural expression more actively, more insightfully, and more pleasurably. The class won’t be organized as a continuous chronological survey but rather will retrace the course of American literary history through the lenses of several different organizing themes, each represented by one of the founding phrases of the American political imagination: “One Nation, Under God, Indivisible”; “Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death”; “The Pursuit of Happiness”; “The Last Best Hope of Earth”; and “e pluribus unum.”

Texts: The texts for the course will include a large, customized readings packet and two paperback novels.

Requirements & Grading: Students will be responsible for all reading and lecture materials and for regular attendance at lecture and sections. Fifty percent of the course grade will be based on the midterm and the final exams. The other fifty percent will be based on attendance, participation, and several short analyses of passages from the readings that students will write in discussion section and have an opportunity to revise and resubmit for a higher grade.

E 377K • American Novel After 1920

35495 • Fall 2011
Meets MWF 1000am-1100am PAR 105
show description

Prerequisites: Nine semester hours of coursework in English or rhetoric and writing.

Description: A survey of responses by 20th and 21st century American novelists to the terrors and pleasures, marvels and commonplaces, determinisms and freedoms, erotics and ethics of modernity. This course will take up 8-10 novels by regionally, ethnically, aesthetically, and ideologically diverse writers. 

Texts: I have not yet chosen readings. My aim is to select novels that, in addition to offering the sorts of range suggested above, will each give some combination of pleasure, provocation, and challenge. 

Requirements & Grading: The principal class format will be discussion. Students will be evaluated on two short papers, periodic unannounced reading quizzes, and a final essay exam. Regular class attendance and participation in discussion will be positively factored into the final course grade.

E 395M • Religion & Amer Lit History

35710 • Fall 2011
Meets M 600pm-900pm CAL 200
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Religion and American Literary History (revised course description)

Sixteen years after Jenny Franchot’s challenge in the pages of American Literature that  “religious belief has become the ‘unthought’” of a discipline ostensibly focused on the shaping aesthetics, ideologies, institutions, and personal and collective subject positions  of literary production and reception in the U. S., a renewed scholarly conversation about the forms and presence of religion in American literature and American literary history has commenced. One strand of this conversation revolves around re-examinations and re-formulations of the “secularization thesis”—the expectation of a progressively rational, worldly, and “disenchanted” modernity—in light of its arguable refutation by, or at least uncertain and uneven applicability to, the course of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Another seeks more particularly to (re-)think religious belief in the U. S. (historically, one of the most anomalous countries in the world in the apparent non-correlation of prosperity’s increase with faith’s decline among its citizenry) by examining what, in her recent study, Tracy Fessenden calls the “unmarked Christianity” that, often evacuated from its institutional locations, takes up “its presence ‘everywhere,’ not least in secular guise.” “Religion and American Literary History” proposes to engage graduate students in these conversations, in the potential literary historical reorientations or shifts in emphasis that they invite, and in the pursuit of the timely and trans-disciplinary publication opportunities that they afford.

The opening three-week unit of the class, “Critical Frames and Textual Points of Reference,” will juxtapose critical readings in the history of American religion (by William James, Mark Noll, Amanda Porterfield, Eric Schmidt, Stephen Prothero, Vine Deloria, and Harold Bloom) and in the history and theory of American literature (by R. W. B. Lewis, Sacvan Bercovitch, Richard Poirier, Jane Tompkins, Joanna Brooks, and Elisa New) with classic instances of religion’s cultural work in writings by John Winthrop, Mary Rowlandson, Jonathan Edwards, David Walker, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and William Apess. Three subsequent units will cluster around three fertile literary and religious historical “moments”—circa 1850, 1950, and 2000—and examine selected poems across this 150 year range as well as prose texts by: Hawthorne, Melville, Emerson, and Joseph Smith; Baldwin, O’Connor, Malamud, and Paul Tillich; Marilynne Robinson, Annie Dillard, and Tim LaHaye.

The course aims in this manner to provide students with a broad critical and historical framework and some resonant textual touchstones for their individual scholarly examinations of any aspect or instance of religion in/and American literary history that they wish to pursue. The final two class sessions will be devoted to the presentation and class discussion of each student’s prospectus for a 20-page final paper. This final essay, along with class participation, and occasional Blackboard postings of short reading responses will comprise the basis for each student’s course grade.

E 314L • Reading Lit In Context-Hon

34815 • Spring 2011
Meets MW 330pm-500pm PAR 302
show description

Prerequisites: E 603A, RHE 306, 306Q, or T C 603A.

Course Description: Religion and American Literature--

In Democracy in America, which nearly two centuries after its publication remains one of the most insightful and influential portraits of the character of American political and cultural life, the French social analyst Alexis de Tocqueville writes: “On my arrival in the United States it was the religious aspect of the country that first struck my eye. . . . [In Europe], I had seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom almost always move in contrary directions. Here I found them united intimately with one another; they reigned together on the same soil.” From the 17th century emigration of English religious dissenters to the colony of Massachusetts to 21st century debate over Barack Obama’s religious beliefs, religion has provided a defining context for Americans’ and America’s ways of being in the world and has shaped many of the defining contests (psychological and cultural contests as well as social and political ones) of American life. This course will examine the religious contests and contexts of American literature across a number of literary genres and across four centuries of the nation’s history. Course goals include: a) deepening and broadening student understanding of the two terms of the course’s title (religion and American literature) and their linkages; and b) improving students’ skills as critical readers of, researchers on, and writers about literature.

Texts: In the first half of the course, we will read scriptural selections from The Hebrew Bible, The New Testament, and The Book of Mormon, and personal histories, treatises, sermons, and short stories by William Bradford, Mary Rowlandson, Jonathan Edwards, Tom Paine, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melville. In the second half of the course we will read: Harold Frederic, The Damnation of Theron Ware; John Niehardt, Black Elk Speaks; James Baldwin, Go Tell it on the Mountain; Bernard Malamud, The Magic Barrel, Flannery O’Connor, Everything that Rises Must Converge; and selected essays by Marilyn Robinson.

Grading: Attendance and Reading Quizzes: 20%; three short (3-4 pp) papers, one of them an annotated bibliography: 45%; peer editing: 10%; 7-8 pp. final research paper: 25%.

E 377K • American Novel After 1920

35040 • Spring 2010
Meets TTH 800-930 GAR 1.126
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The Modern American Novel

Carton
E. 377K, Unique # 35040
TT 8:00-9:30 in GAR 1.126

Office Hours:

I will hold office hours in Parlin 223 between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm on Wednesdays. I am also happy to schedule an appointment to meet at another time if a student requests a meeting and my regularly scheduled office hours are not convenient. The best way to reach me between classes for any reason is by email: e.carton@mail.utexas.edu

Graded Work & Grading Policy:

Your course grade will be based on attendance (20%), 5 five-minute reading quizzes (20%), two short critical essays (30%), and a final essay exam (30%).

Attendance and participation:

If you have no more than three absences, you will receive the full 20 points for the attendance portion of your grade. Each absence over three will lower the attendance portion of your grade by 10 points. Missing more than 5 classes will result in an automatic F for the course. Late arrival after attendance has been taken will count as an absence; early departure will also count as an absence. Regular and thoughtful participation in class discussion may earn you up to 10 extra credit points.

Reading Quizzes:

I will give six unannounced reading quizzes over the course of the semester—usually at or near the beginning of the class hour. Each quiz will consist of 4 short answer questions worth one point apiece. Your five best quiz results will make up your 20% quiz grade. No missed quizzes may be made up.

Critical Response Papers:

There are two short critical essays, each worth 15 points, due in my office (Parlin 223) by 5:00 pm on March 11 and on April 22, both Thursdays. Each response paper should examine one novel—or compare some aspect of a pair of novels—assigned during the period preceding the paper due date. In other words, the first paper may examine any novel or pair of novels among our first four assigned texts:Winesburg, Ohio; Light in August; Wise Blood; and Catch-22. The second paper may examine any one or pair of the next three assigned novels: Housekeeping; Philadelphia Fire; and Gain. Each short critical response paper must be submitted in a word-processed or typed hard copy and should be 3-4 pages (or roughly 1000 words) long. Students are responsible for selecting which novel or novels they wish to write about and what the focus of their paper will be. All short critical essays, however, must take one of the following three approaches:

  • Approach #1 (formal): A close reading of an individual novel that shows how some formal aspect or element of the text—its style, its structure, a particular metaphor, motif, passage, or literary device—contributes to its signification (its overall meaning, purpose, or theme).
  • Approach #2 (comparative): A comparison of two novels that makes an argument about how the two connect and/or where they differ and about why that connection or difference is worth drawing, what it illuminates or reveals about the two works, their authors, or the concerns or circumstances they share.
  • Approach #3 (historical/contextual): An exploration of the novel’s response to or position in some larger historical or social context that is pertinent to its moment in time, its setting, the community or purpose to which it is addressed, or some real world issue with which it deals.
Note: Irrespective of their approach in these response papers, students may not consult any outside critical sources on the authors and novels they write about. Students who take Approach #1 or Approach #2 must develop and support their ideas only by means of their independent and original reading and thinking about the primary text(s) they are discussing. Students who take Approach #3 must use and reference in an attached bibliography no less than three and no more than five outside sources of information on the historical or social context (not on the novel itself) that they are expounding in relation to the work they have chosen to consider.

Final Essay Exam:

The final exam will consist of two broadly thematic essay questions. Students must choose six novels from the syllabus to discuss in their final exam essays—three different novels for each question—with the exception that one question will require every student to use The Magician’s Assistant as one of the three discussion texts.

Students with Disabilities:

Students with disabilities may request appropriate academic accommodations from the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Services for Students with Disabilities, 471-6259.

For more information, please download the full syllabus.

E 379S • Senior Seminar-W

35150 • Spring 2010
Meets TTH 1100-1230pm PAR 210
show description

Literature of American Warfare

Carton
E. 379S, Unique #35150
TTH 11:00-12:30 in PAR 210

 

Syllabus and Course Information

Office Hours:

I will hold office hours in Parlin 223 between between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm on Wednesdays. I am also happy to schedule an appointment to meet at another time if a student is unable to meet with me during my regular hours. The best way to reach me between classes is by email: e.carton@mail.utexas.edu

Graded Work:

Your course grade will be based on attendance (20%); Blackboard discussion posts (20%); a one-page (single-spaced) response to a selected reading assignment, presented in class (15%); a 1000 word out of class essay (15%); and a 2500-3000 word final paper (30%).

Attendance and participation:

If you have no more than three absences, you will receive the full 20 points for the attendance portion of your grade. Each absence over three will lower the attendance portion of your grade by 10 points. Missing more than 5 classes will result in an automatic F for the course. Late arrival after attendance has been taken will count as an absence; early departure will also count as an absence. Regular and thoughtful participation in class discussion may earn you up to 6 extra credit points.

Students with Disabilities:

Students with disabilities may request appropriate academic accommodations from the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Services for Students with Disabilities, 471-6259.

For more information, please download the full syllabus.

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