Using the Heath Anthology, Part II: Syllabus 1

English 382
American Realism: 1865-1915
Spring 1990
Xavier University

Professor John Getz

Goals: To study writing from the period between the Civil War and World War I in American literature, loosely defined as the era of realism. We will examine various definitions of the term realism and ponder its applicability to the diverse writing of this period. Essays, autobiographies, short stories, novels, and poems of the era will be studied for their formal qualities and in the context of the literature, history, and culture of their time and ours. The course is designed to help us read texts closely and develop a broader vision by seeing connections among works and authors. Originality and self-expression will be nurtured in both processes.

Focus: This is an experimental version of this course. We're among the first classes to use the new Heath Anthology of American Literature, hot off the press only a week or two before the beginning of the course. This anthology is the first one thoroughly committed to opening the American literary canon by race, class, and gender. It allows us to read established authors such as Twain, James, and Stephen Crane alongside a variety of women and minority writers never before available. We'll consider how all these authors illuminate each other and how they make and respond to this fascinating period, in which the United States recovered from the Civil War, experienced the rise of the "robber barons" and the triumph of industrialization and urbanization, and emerged as a world power. For better or worse, much of what makes up America today took shape during this time, and the writers can help us evaluate these dramatic changes. Readings on the syllabus are arranged in roughly chronological order.

Premise for consideration: That literature is written and read in history, not in a vacuum, and that aesthetic concerns cannot be separated from political and social issues. Accordingly, as we read texts, we remake them, so that our responses themselves become texts for us to study.


Jan. 19: Introduction, 3-33 in anthology

Jan. 22: Rebecca Harding Davis, "Life in the Iron Mills"

William Dean Howells, from "The Editor's Study"

from Criticism and Fiction

Henry James, from Hawthorne

Jan. 24: Horatio Alger, Jr., Ragged Dick

Jan. 26: Alger, Jr., Ragged Dick

Jan. 29: Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (in anthology)

Jan. 31: Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Feb. 2: Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Feb. 5: Huck Finn, concluded

Marietta Holley, from Samantha Among the Brethren

Feb. 7: First essay due

Sarah Orne Jewett, "A White Heron"

Jewett, "The Foreigner"

Feb. 12: Mary Wilkins Freeman, " A Church Mouse"

Freeman, "The Revolt of `Mother'"

Feb. 14: Freeman, "Old Woman Magoun"

Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, from The Story of Avis

Alice Dunbar-Nelson, "Sister Josepha"

Feb. 16: Kate Chopin, "Desirée's Baby"

Kate Chopin, "A Respectable Woman"

Kate Chopin, "The Story of an Hour"

Feb. 19: Chopin, "Lilacs"

Chopin, "A Pair of Silk Stockings"

Chopin, "The Storm"

Feb. 21: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, "The Yellow Wallpaper"

Gilman, from Herland

Feb. 23: Booker T. Washington, from Up from Slavery

W. E. B. DuBois, from The Souls of Black Folk

DuBois, "The Song of the Smoke"

Paul Laurence Dunbar, "Mr. Cornelius Johnson, Office-Seeker"

Dunbar, "An Ante-Bellum Ser- mon"

Dunbar, "We Wear the Mask"

Dunbar, "Sympathy"

Feb. 26: African-American Folktales, 194-214

Charles Waddell Chesnutt, "The Goophered Grapevine"

Feb. 28: Chesnutt, "Po' Sandy"

Chesnutt, "The Passing of Gran - dison"

Mar. 2: Second undergraduate paper due

Deadline for approval of one-page prospectus or outline of graduate research-based paper

Standing Bear, "What I Am Going to Tell You Here Will Take Me until Dark"

Ghost Dance Songs

Charles Alexander Easman, from From the Deep Woods to Civilization

Gertrude Bonnin (Zitkala-Sa), from Impressions of an Indian Childhood

Bonnin, "Why I Am a Pagan"

John Milton Oskison,"The Problem of Old Harjo"

Mar. 12: William Dean Howells, "Editha"

Mark Twain, "The War Prayer"

Mar. 14: Ambrose Bierce, "Chicka- mauga"

Stephen Crane, " A Mystery of Heroism"

Crane, "Do Not Weep, Maiden, For War Is Kind"

Crane, "A Man Said to the Uni- verse"

Mar. 16: Crane, "The Open Boat"

Crane, "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky"

Mar. 19: Henry Adams, from Mont- Saint Michel and Chartres

Adams, from The Education of Henry Adams

Mar. 21: Theodore Dreiser, The Financier

Mar. 23: Dreiser, The Financier

Mar. 26: Dreiser, The Financier

Mar. 28: Dreiser, The Financier

Mar. 30: Dreiser, The Financier

Apr. 2: Third undergraduate paper due

Grad research-based paper due

Apr. 4: "Toward Modernism," 961-62

Edith Wharton, "The Valley of Childish Things"

Wharton, "The Other Two"

Wharton, "The Quicksand"

Apr. 6: Wharton, "The Eyes"

Wharton, "Roman Fever"

Apr. 9: Willa Cather, My Antonia

Apr. 11: Cather, My Antonia

Apr. 15: Happy Easter!

Apr. 18: My Antonia, continued

Apr. 20: My Antonia, concluded

Mary Austin, from Earth Horizon

Apr. 23: Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio

Apr. 25: Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio

Apr. 27: Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio

Apr. 30: Edwin Arlington Robinson, poems, 962-72

Edgar Lee Masters, poems, 1033-39

May 2: Robert Frost, poems, 1099-1117

May 4: Edith Maud Eaton (Sui Sin Far), "Leaves from the Mental Portfolio of an Eurasian"

Eaton, from Mrs. Spring Fragrance

Abraham Cahan, from Yekl

Mary Antin, from The Promised Land

May 11: Final projects due in oral and written form, undergrad and grad

Course Evaluation

Contents, No. IV