Designed for majors and non-majors alike, this course surveys American literature from the Revolutionary period to the turn of the twentieth century. Topics will include the role of literature in an ostensibly egalitarian society that is nevertheless divided by slavery and Jim Crow segregation; the appeal to nature as a basis for aesthetic and communal values in a society dominated, as it is today, by market competition; and the way literary treatments of race, gender and sexuality place the human body on the dividing line between an often idealized natural existence, on one hand, and a fragmented social existence, on the other.
We will read fiction by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hermann Melville, Mark Twain and Kate Chopin; autobiographies by Benjamin Franklin and Frederick Douglass; essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson and W.E.B. Dubois; and poems by Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman. Requirements: two short essays; a mid-term and final exam; and regular attendance and participation.
In addition to fulfilling the GE requirements for area G and writing, this course counts toward the English major requirement of four courses from the 101-104 survey sequence.