Course Info and Syllabi

English 343-001
Survey of American Literature to 1860
Spring 2016

Prof. Philip F. Gura gura@email.unc.edu
Greenlaw 426 962-4033
Office Hours: Tu, 1-3 and by appointment

Text: Nina Baym et al., The Norton Anthology of American Literature, 8th ed. (Shorter Edition. Vol. 1).

Course Description and Requirements: This is a chronological survey of American literature, broadly conceived, from the period of English settlement through the poetry of Dickinson and Whitman. Students are expected to familiarize themselves not only with the texts but also with the development of the varieties of American literature over time.

There will be three in-class exams (February 11, March 10, and April 7), and a final examination. The exams will require you to demonstrate how well you have read and grasped the assigned texts. The instructor reserves the right to make changes in the syllabus, including test dates. These changes will be announced as early as possible. Attendance and class participation is expected. With 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-; and after each absence thereafter, another point down, to a B+, etc. Your final grade before such deductions will be based on the three exams (25% each) and the final (25%), which will not be cumulative.

Plagiarism: The Honor Code is in effect in this class and all others at the University. I am committed to treating Honor Code violations seriously and urge all students to become familiar with its terms (http://instrument.unc.edu). If you have questions, it is your responsibility to ask me about the code’s application. All exams and other written work must be submitted with a statement that you have complied with the requirements of the Honor Code.

Readings/Schedule:

Jan. 12, 14: Introduction. Definitions and terms. Period of Contact and Exploration.
January 19, 21: Colonization: New England. New England Puritanism, 72-102.
January 26, 28: New England Puritanism: Anne Bradstreet and Edward Taylor, 110-125, 143-149.

February 2, 4: New England Puritanism: Second and Third Generations. Native Americans and Witches, 126-142, 149-156.
February 9, 11: Jonathan Edwards and the Great Awakening, 177-220; 11, EXAM.
February 16: Benjamin Franklin and National Character, 248-307; 18: Hector St. Jean de Crevecoeur
February 23, 25: Olaudah Equiano, 308-322, 354-386; Early Romanticism: Irving, Cooper. Bryant, 467-97.

March 1, 3: Edgar Allan Poe, 683-742.
March 8, Emerson and Transcendentalism; March 10: EXAM
March 15, 17: SPRING BREAK
March 22, 24: Ralph Waldo Emerson and Transcendentalism, 505-583.
March 29, 31: Henry David Thoreau, 858-934.

April 5: Nathaniel Hawthorne, 603-655; April 7: EXAM.
April 12, 14: Herman Melville, 1099-1183.
April 19, Walt Whitman, 1005-1099; April 21, Dickinson, 1189-1218 (selections).
April 26: Dickinson.

 

English 347-002: The American Novel
Spring 2016
Prof. Philip F. Gura
gura@email.unc.edu Greenlaw 426
Office Hours Tu 1-3 and by appointment

Texts:
Charles Brockden Brown, Wieland
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance
Herman Melville Moby-Dick
William Faulkner, Light in August
Kate Chopin, The Awakening
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. There are no prerequisite courses, and any students interested in American literature should find it of interest. 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 The Blithedale Romance (1850), a complex love story set at a utopian commune. We move on to Moby-Dick (1851), Herman Melville’s great novel, to understand how he transformed an adventure story into profound metaphysical investigation. Then comes Harold Frederic’s The Damnation of Theron Ware (1896), a scathing realist portrait of a fallen minister at a time of great cultural change; and Kate Chopin’s The Awakening (1899), a pioneering psychological examination of a woman’s claustrophobic marriage, set in Louisiana’s complex Creole culture. We end with William Faulkner’s modernist narrative experiment, Light In August (1932), one of the most powerful examinations of race and identity in American literature.

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 exams, on, February 11, March 10, and April 7. There also will be a final examination. The exams will require you to demonstrate how well you have read and grasped these novels. The instructor reserves the right to make changes in the syllabus, including test dates. These changes will be announced as early as possible.

Attendance and class participation is expected. With 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-; and after each absence thereafter, another point down, to a B+, etc. Your 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: The Honor Code is in effect in this class and all others at the University. I am committed to treating Honor Code violations seriously and urge all students to become familiar with its terms (http://instrument.unc.edu). If you have questions, it is your responsibility to ask me about the code’s application. All exams and other written work must be submitted with a statement that you have complied with the requirements of the Honor Code.

ASSIGNMENTS:
January 12, 14: Introduction to course, Brown’s Wieland.

January 19, 21: Wieland

January 26, 28: Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance.

February 2, 4: Blithedale.

February 9: Blithedale. February 11: EXAM.

February 16, 18: Melville, Moby-Dick.

February 23, 25: Moby-Dick.

March 1, 3: Moby-Dick.

March 8: Moby-Dick. March 10: EXAM.

March 15, 17: SPRING BREAK

March 22, 24: Frederic, Damnation of Theron Ware.

March 29, Damnation of Theron Ware; 31, Chopin The Awakening.

April 5, Chopin, The Awakening; 7, EXAM.

April 12, 14: Light in August.

April 19, 21, Light in August.

April 26: Light in August.