Syllabus #4

English 252
Major American Writers II
Spring 1990

Professor Karen Oakes
Colby College

What is American literature? What constitutes a "major American writer"? Who decides these issues? Our journey this semester will repeatedly invoke these questions as we respond to the concepts which our country's writers raise again and again: our relationship to the land; the permutations of gender, race, and class; the nature of power; our relationship to the "ideal."


One medium-length and one longer paper; possibly one group presentation; a reading journal; regular attendance and contributions to discussion.


The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Volume 2

Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

Selected reserve readings

Tentative schedule:

2/5: Introduction

2/7: "To the Reader"; "Late Nineteenth Century: 1865-1910"; "The Devel- opment of Women's Narratives"; Jewett, "A White Heron"; Freeman, "The Revolt of `Mother'"

2/12: "Regional Voices, National Voices"; African-American Folktales

2/14: Dunbar-Nelson, all; Chopin, "The Story of an Hour"

2/19: "Issues and Visions in Post-Civil War America"; Standing Bear, all; Ghost Dance songs, all; Eastman, all; Holley, all

2/21: Gilman, all

2/26: Corridos; "New Explorations of an `American' Self"; Washington

2/28: Eaton, all; Bonnin, all

3/5: "Modern Period: 1910-1945"; "Toward Modernism"; Wharton, "The Other Two"; Glaspell, all

3/7: Frost, "The Pasture," "The Fear," "Out, Out_ ," "Design"

3/12: "Alienation and Literary Experi- mentation"; Hemingway, "Indian Camp," "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" (reserve)

3/14: Faulkner, "Barn Burning"

3/16: Paper #1 due. Pound, "A Pact"; Moore, "Poetry,"; Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"; Bogan, "Women"

3/19: "The Harlem Renaissance"; Hurston, TBA

3/21: Hurston

Midterm break

English 252 Student Evaluations

"I think that the anthology we are using is a good text. . . and I am glad that we are delving into some of the lesser-known literary

figures. . ."

"I've really enjoyed the class so far, mostly because we've been reading authors that I've never been exposed to. The difference between this course and the Major British Writers course I took first semester is like night and day."

"I've enjoyed the reading selections very much."

"I like the theme of this class: what constitutes American literature. In many English classes I've had, we've studied the same prominent figures and while they are worth reading, I like that we've read many works by not-so-famous writers--many of them being minorities."

Contents, No. III