Course Info and Syllabi

 

English 347-001: The American Novel

Fall 2017

Prof. Philip F. Gura                                                                             Greenlaw 426

Office Hours W 10-12, and by appointment

 

Texts:

Charles Brockden Brown, Wieland

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance

Herman Melville Moby-Dick

William Dean Howells, A Modern Instance

Kate Chopin, The Awakening

William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying

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 The Blithedale Romance (1852), Nathaniel Hawthorne’s account of of a 19th-century utopian experiment and the love triangles that flourish there. We move on to Moby-Dick (1851), Herman Melville’s masterpiece, to understand how he transformed the adventure novel into profound metaphysical investigation. Next, we will read William Dean Howells’s A Modern Instance (1882), a strong example of literary realism and one of the first novels to address the question of divorce. We end with William Faulkner’s modernist experiment, As I Lay Dying (1930), a moving account of the search for and discovery of personal identity in the American South.

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. You may think that six novels aren’t that many, but most of these are lengthy books. When you have spare time, read ahead.

There will be three tests, on September 7th, September 26th, and October 26th. There also will be a final examination at the assigned time, December 12th at 8 a.m. I reserve the right to change exam dates and will give you ample warning if I need to do so. The exams will require you to demonstrate how well you have read and grasped these novels. 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 another absence, 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.

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

 

Assignments:

 

August 22, 24:  Introduction to the course.  Wieland.

August 29, 31:  Wieland.

September 5:  Wieland.  7th: EXAM.

September 12, 14: The Blithedale Romance.

September 19, 21: The Blithedale Romance.

September 26: EXAM. September 28:  Moby-Dick.

October 3, 5:  Moby-Dick

October 10: Moby-Dick. No class October 12 (University Day).

October 17:  Moby-Dick. No class October 19 (Fall Break).

October 24: Moby-Dick. October 26: EXAM.

October 31, November 2. A Modern Instance.

November 7, 9:  A Modern Instance.

November 14, 16, The Awakening.

November 21:  As I Lay Dying. November 23, no class (Thanksgiving).

November 28, 30: As I Lay Dying.

December 5: As I Lay Dying.

Final Exam. December 12th, 8 a.m.

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English 347-002: The American Novel

Fall 2017

Prof. Philip F. Gura                                                                             Greenlaw 426

Office Hours W 10-12, and by appointment

Texts:

Charles Brockden Brown, Wieland

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance

Herman Melville Moby-Dick

William Dean Howells, A Modern Instance

Kate Chopin, The Awakening

William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying

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 The Blithedale Romance (1852), Nathaniel Hawthorne’s account of of a 19th-century utopian experiment and the love triangles that flourish there. We move on to Moby-Dick (1851), Herman Melville’s masterpiece, to understand how he transformed the adventure novel into profound metaphysical investigation. Next, we will read William Dean Howells’s A Modern Instance (1882), a strong example of literary realism and one of the first novels to address the question of divorce. We end with William Faulkner’s modernist experiment, As I Lay Dying (1930), a moving account of the search for and discovery of personal identity in the American South.

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. You may think that six novels aren’t that many, but most of these are lengthy books. When you have spare time, read ahead.

There will be three tests, on September 7th, September 26th, and October 26th. There also will be a final examination at the assigned time, December 14th at noon. I reserve the right to change exam dates and will give you ample warning if I need to do so. The exams will require you to demonstrate how well you have read and grasped these novels. 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 another absence, 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.

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

Assignments:

August 22, 24:  Introduction to the course.  Wieland.

August 29, 31:  Wieland.

September 5:  Wieland.  7th: EXAM.

September 12, 14: The Blithedale Romance.

September 19, 21: The Blithedale Romance.

September 26: EXAM. September 28:  Moby-Dick.

October 3, 5:  Moby-Dick

October 10: Moby-Dick. No class October 12 (University Day).

October 17:  Moby-Dick. No class October 19 (Fall Break).

October 24: Moby-Dick. October 26: EXAM.

October 31, November 2. A Modern Instance.

November 7, 9:  A Modern Instance.

November 14, 16, The Awakening.

November 21:  As I Lay Dying. November 23, no class (Thanksgiving).

November 28, 30: As I Lay Dying.

December 5: As I Lay Dying.

Final Exam. December 14th, noon.