Using the Heath Anthology, Part II: Syllabus 1
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"
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