Course Info and Syllabi

 

English 347-002: The American Novel
Spring 2015
Prof. Philip F. Gura Greenlaw 426

Texts:
Charles Brockden Brown, Wieland
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Elizabeth Stoddard, The Morgesons
Herman Melville Moby-Dick
William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
Harold Frederic, The Damnation of Theron Ware

This course introduces you to the variety of the American novel, from the late eighteenth through the early twentieth century. We begin with one of the earliest American novels, Charles Brockden Brown’s Wieland (1798), to see how he uses the seduction plot to address complex emotional states well before there was a vocabulary to analyze them. Next, we tackle Nathaniel Hawthorne’s account of a Transcendentalist utopia, The Blithedale Romance (1852), a story of challenging, unexpected relationships working themselves out in a cloistered environment populated by earnest reformers. We move on to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s best-selling Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), instrumental in galvanizing opposition to slavery and a classic of the sentimental mode. After that, we read Moby-Dick (1851), Herman Melville’s masterpiece, to understand how he transformed the adventure novel into profound metaphysical investigation. Elizabeth Stoddard’s newly recovered proto-psychological novel, The Morgesons (1862), comes next, the story of a young woman’s struggle with emotions she is just learning to identify and tame. We end with William Faulkner’s modernist experiment, As I Lay Dying (1930), an attempt to give voice to profoundly inarticulate Mississippi farmers as they grapple with complex family dynamics after the death of their mother. On your own, you also will read Harold Frederic’s scathing realist portrait of a fallen minister, The Damnation of Theron Ware (1896).

In no way is this course meant to be inclusive. The choices suggest various prose experiments that show how authors transformed earlier modes and genres into pioneering psychological and cultural investigations, specifically, how fiction related to the United States of America at different points in time. Thus, you will learn about the stylistic development of early American fiction as well as about its most compelling themes. In lecture, I will try to suggest more about the great range of novels which we do not have time to sample and as well to provide some cultural and historical background to each of the works we do read. The assignments at times will be lengthy, so when you have spare time, read ahead.

There will be three tests, on January 22nd, February 12th, April 9th. There also will be a final examination at the assigned time. The exams will require you to demonstrate how well you have read and grasped these novels. You also may expect occasional pop quizzes, to make sure that you keep up with the reading assignments. Attendance and class participation is expected. After your third unexcused absence, I will start deducting from your final grade. For example, if your grade on exams is an A, you will move to an A-; after three more, to a B+, etc. Your approximate final grade before such deductions will be based on the three exams (25% each) and the final (25%), which will not be cumulative. In your final grade I also will consider your performance on the quizzes, lowering your grade if your cumulative total of points on these efforts falls below the standard for the class.

Please note that Frederic’s Damnation of Theron Ware will not be discussed in class. You are to read it during the semester and will write on it on the final exam.

Honor Code: Students are required to familiarize themselves with the Student Honor Code regarding plagiarism. Refer to http://instrument.unc.edu/

ASSIGNMENTS:
January 8: Introduction to course, Brown’s Wieland.

January 13, 15: Wieland.

Jan. 20, 22: Complete Wieland. Test on 22nd.

Jan. 27, 29: Hawthorne’s Blithedale Romance.

February 3, 5: Blithedale Romance.

February 10, Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Test on 12th.

February 17, 19th: Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

February 24, 26: Melville, Moby-Dick.

March 3, 5: Moby-Dick.

Week of March 10th: NO CLASS: SPRING BREAK

March 17, 19: Complete Moby-Dick.

March 24, 26: Stoddard, The Morgesons

March 31, April 2: The Morgesons.

April 7, 9: Faulkner, As I Lay Dying. Test April 9th.

April 14, 16: As I Lay Dying.

April 21, 23: As I Lay Dying.

 

 

 

English 347-003: The American Novel
Spring 2015
Prof. Philip F. Gura Greenlaw 426

Texts:
Charles Brockden Brown, Wieland
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Elizabeth Stoddard, The Morgesons
Herman Melville Moby-Dick
William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying
Harold Frederic, The Damnation of Theron Ware

This course introduces you to the variety of the American novel, from the late eighteenth through the early twentieth century. We begin with one of the earliest American novels, Charles Brockden Brown’s Wieland (1798), to see how he uses the seduction plot to address complex emotional states well before there was a vocabulary to analyze them. Next, we tackle Nathaniel Hawthorne’s account of a Transcendentalist utopia, The Blithedale Romance (1852), a story of challenging, unexpected relationships working themselves out in a cloistered environment populated by earnest reformers. We move on to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s best-selling Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852), instrumental in galvanizing opposition to slavery and a classic of the sentimental mode. After that, we read Moby-Dick (1851), Herman Melville’s masterpiece, to understand how he transformed the adventure novel into profound metaphysical investigation. Elizabeth Stoddard’s newly recovered proto-psychological novel, The Morgesons (1862), comes next, the story of a young woman’s struggle with emotions she is just learning to identify and tame. We end with William Faulkner’s modernist experiment, As I Lay Dying (1930), an attempt to give voice to profoundly inarticulate Mississippi farmers as they grapple with complex family dynamics after the death of their mother. On your own, you also will read Harold Frederic’s scathing realist portrait of a fallen minister, The Damnation of Theron Ware (1896).

In no way is this course meant to be inclusive. The choices suggest various prose experiments that show how authors transformed earlier modes and genres into pioneering psychological and cultural investigations, specifically, how fiction related to the United States of America at different points in time. Thus, you will learn about the stylistic development of early American fiction as well as about its most compelling themes. In lecture, I will try to suggest more about the great range of novels which we do not have time to sample and as well to provide some cultural and historical background to each of the works we do read. The assignments at times will be lengthy, so when you have spare time, read ahead.

There will be three tests, on January 22nd, February 12th, April 9th. There also will be a final examination at the assigned time. The exams will require you to demonstrate how well you have read and grasped these novels. You also may expect occasional pop quizzes, to make sure that you keep up with the reading assignments. Attendance and class participation is expected. After your third unexcused absence, I will start deducting from your final grade. For example, if your grade on exams is an A, you will move to an A-; after three more, to a B+, etc. Your approximate final grade before such deductions will be based on the three exams (25% each) and the final (25%), which will not be cumulative. In your final grade I also will consider your performance on the quizzes, lowering your grade if your cumulative total of points on these efforts falls below the standard for the class.

Please note that Frederic’s Damnation of Theron Ware will not be discussed in class. You are to read it during the semester and will write on it in the final exam.

Honor Code: Students are required to familiarize themselves with the Student Honor Code regarding plagiarism. Refer to http://instrument.unc.edu/

ASSIGNMENTS:
January 8: Introduction to course, Brown’s Wieland.

January 13, 15: Wieland.

Jan. 20, 22: Complete Wieland. Test on 22nd.

Jan. 27, 29: Hawthorne’s Blithedale Romance.

February 3, 5: Blithedale Romance.

February 10, Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Test on 12th.

February 17, 19th: Uncle Tom’s Cabin..

February 24, 26: Melville, Moby-Dick

March 3, 5: Moby-Dick.

Week of March 10th: NO CLASS: SPRING BREAK

March 17, 19: Complete Moby-Dick.

March 24, 26: Stoddard, The Morgesons

March 31, April 2: The Morgesons.

April 7, 9: Faulkner, As I Lay Dying. Test April 9th.

April 14, 16: As I Lay Dying.

April 21, 23: As I Lay Dying.