"There are tens of thousands of poems composed on these walls.
They are all cries of complaint and sadness. The day I am rid of
this prison and attain success, I must remember that this chapter
once existed. "
--by One from Xiangshan
In my experience teaching from the Heath books I found that students were intensely resistant to theoretical discussions of feminism, for instance, but fascinated by the questions of power and class and race raised by many nineteenth-century women's texts. While the feminist movement is just emerging in Poland, these students are right in the middle of primary questions of power and privilege in the context of the university, as the university struggles to redefine itself. On the one hand, students often said to me in class that they thought that Americans were obsessed with questions of sexuality, gender, and power relations (which often came up in connection with texts in the Heath Anthology.) On some basic level, Affirmative Action, diversity in the workplace, and the movement against sexual harassment seems quite foreign to them. On the other hand, however, despite the profound homogeneity of Polish society, I constantly encountered these issues to be basic to Polish consciousness, even if they would not name them as such: students on a number of occasions articulated profoundly racist and explicitly violent remarks about gypsies; students discussed freely the phenomenon of sexual harassment in the institution and the gender-based inequalities that faced them when they would leave to find employment; students were well aware of the way canons are formed in gender-inflected hierarchies because they had seen firsthand how contemporary Polish women poets, for instance, had been marginalized by academic institutions. And homosexuality, all but invisible under the previous regime, is now beginning to come out of the closet in the eastern countries as gay organization spring up and the AIDS crisis focusses public attention. The Heath Anthology, in other words, provided some measure of access to literary texts and ideas that are part of these struggles in the United States context, and gave us material for learning about how our culture negotiates these historical realities, within the literature itself, within the way literature is disseminated, and within the way literature is talked about by academics and other readers. In some ways these students are better prepared for the lessons a Heath Anthology affords, lessons about placing Hawthorne in the context of Stowe, Pound in the context of Hughes, Henry James or Edith Wharton in the contexts of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Sarah Orne Jewett, or Kate Chopin, Douglas in the context of Jacobs, Puritan mythology in the context of Native American mythology. It seems to many of my North American students mysterious as to why anyone would want to question the place that Hawthorne has in the canon, and amorphous how that canon got made in the first place. Polish students, with the exception of Jerzy Kosinski, however, know something about what it means: Kosinski is only recently being translated and published in Polish. American readers can take a novel like The Painted Bird for granted as a part of our own reading experience, even though it concerns a country and a time far distant; Polish readers cannot. However, if Polish students are sensitive in some degree to the way the state ideological apparatus shaped what could and could not be read, they are still struggling to find the ways in which other institutions, like the Church, have such an impact. For Kosinski's antipathy to communism is not the only thing that kept him from entering the Polish literary imagination for so long.
The Church is extremely powerful in Polish society at the moment, and one anecdote should serve to indicate the impact it is having. In the fall of 1990, the American conductor of the Krakow Symphony Orchestra, Gilbert Levine, organized a concert in an old synagogue in the Kazimierz district of Krakow, which was to have the symbolic meaning of reconciliation between the Polish Catholics and Polish Jews. It was to be a big media event, and even the Pope knew about it and expressed his enthusiasm. His interest notwithstanding, none of the Polish bishops who had received invitations attended, and the snub was felt to be quite significant. Many of my students expressed dismay at these pressures introduced by a Church which faces an oddly homogeneous society, with perhaps only 10,000 Jews in a country of more than 20 million people. The North American context, therefore, is quite bewildering to them with its extraordinarily diverse literary culture. But there is a kind of parallel that we were able to explore. We could examine earlier anthologies' representation, for instance, of nineteenth-century literature with its concentration of New England male writers-and contrast that with the story Paul Lauter's anthology tells, with its complement of women writing in the sentimental tradition, slave narratives, folk tales and the like. This different narrative of American literature is certainly not more true than the first, but appears to reflect the new needs our generation feels. Discussing the formation of canons as a function of felt social needs enabled us to comment, for example, on the formation of exclusionary politics vis-a-vis anti-semitism, sexism, and the contemporary pogroms against the gypsies in Poland.
"I must say that teaching from the new Heath Anthology is a revelation. I've learned an immense amount. I've been teaching American literature for more than twenty years, but I've had to prepare for my classes this year as if I were a novice. I've loved it. And. maybe you can imagine how interesting and moving it has been to read slave narratives with students here in Ghana which, as you know, was one of the centers of the slave trade. I have been able to visit one of the slave castles at Elmina here, and it's quite an experience. I have a Fulbright colleague here who is studying the effect of slavery on present-day Ghana, and she is finding interesting stuff. Slavery here predates the Europeans, though the local variant was much more benign if such a word can be used in such a context. Sometimes (often, I guess) slaves became part of the family and their descendants are still in the extended family groups.
Other aspects of the text have been equally stimulating here. For example, when reading the material on the 19th Century women's movement, one of the students said that some of the attitudes and conditions of women talked about in those essays are still prevalent in Ghana.
Thank you again, not only for these copies of the text, but for the text itself. I have marked many writers whose work I want to know more about whom I first heard of in that text. I am very glad l am using it and very glad that I can leave copies of it here; where they will be used over and over."
Following is a detailed schedule for the first term (until the Christmas break) and a general schedule for the rest of the year. After the schedule, I have given a description of written work required for the course. The course demands a fair amount of reading, thinking, and analysis. I will give some lectures, but much of the course will be carried on by class discussion. We will look at the texts in detail.
For the first term, all readings (except for the novels) are from the Heath Anthology of American Literature, Volume I. Ten copies of this anthology are available in the department library. The three novels: The Last of the Mohicans, Uncle Tom's Cabin, and The Scarlet Letter, are also available in the library. There are 15 copies of Letter besides three copies of a special edition containing critical articles. There are three copies of each of the other two.
October 29 and October 31: The Last of the Mohicans
November 5: Puritanism: p.199, p. 205-210, Winthrop; pp 217-277, Bradford; pp. 234-255, Williams; pp. 401-06, Mather; pp. 581-610, Ashbridge and Woolman, Quakers; p. 790, Franklin on witch trials.
November 7: Theoretical underpinnings of the new nation: Pages 925-990 have selections from John and Abigail Adams, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson; read a little from each one. You might also look at the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers (p. 1007)
November 12 and 14: Transcendentalism and Emerson: Read Emerson's essay, "Self Reliance, " page 1511.
November 19: Margaret Fuller, Read "Summer on the Lakes, and "Woman in the Nineteenth Century, page 1590-1626.
November 21: The Place of Women: Read from the section Women' s voices: pages 1886-1914.
November 26: Henry David Thoreau: Read "Resistance to Civil Government " and the selections from Walden, pages 1967-2007.
November 28: Abolitionist Literature: Read from the section on pp. 1781-1885.
December 3-5: Read Afro-American narratives, pp. 679-728; 1637-1750; and p. 2584, Clotelle, p. 2628, Our Nig, and Harper's pieces, especially Iola Leroy.
December 10 and 12: Continue with Afro-American narratives and read Uncle Tom's Cabin
December 17 and 19: The Scarlet Letter
Jan 14-16: Continue with Scarlet Letter
Jan 21-23: The short story: Poe, Hawthorne, Melville
Jan 28-30: Henry James
Feb 4 and 6: Sister Carrie
Feb 11-Feb 20: The short story: Chopin, Davis, Freeman, S. Crane, Cather, Anderson, Hemingway
Feb 25-27: Poetry: Whitman and Dickinson
March 3-March 24: Poetry: T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, e.e. cummings, Ginsberg, Sexton, Rich, Harjo, among others.
March 31-April 2: Short Stories: Baldwin, Cisneros, Alice Walker, among others.
Ap 7-Ap 16: Faulkner, Sound and the Fury, along with critical articles.
May 5-7: Invisible Man
May 12-14: Woman Warrior
May 19-21: Love Medicine
May 26-28: Beloved
Professor Heloisa Toller Gomes, Universidade Estadual do Rio de Janeiro BRAZIL .
"Thank you for this anthology. I like the layout, the organization (chronology and topics), the print, the introductions, the extremely helpful Instructor's Guide and even some pictures. I like the choices you made and if there is occasionally not quite enough of some poet, it is always one easy to find elsewhere.
"American literature is a secondary subject in Dutch Higher Education, secondary to British literature, that is. Will you be challenging the Oxford and the Norton, with their WAS if not P bias, especially in the notes? Do it, please.
"As a secondary subject, American literature has no assigned anthology- yet. Give me time. In the meanwhile, my adult students (night classes for those with lower degrees) have the money to buy this and will."
Professor J. Muller, Hoge School Holland-Wildenborch 6 THE NETHERLANDS
"I want to greet the Editorial Board for the wonderful job they have been doing in building a new canon of American literature and eventually of the literature in the Americas."
Professor Maria Clara Bonetti Paro, Universidade Estadual Paulista BRAZIL
"I like the new authors, the consideration given to minorities, women, native Americans. [The Anthology is] excellent on Asian-Americans and Chicanos/as--a new canon is created especially for the earlier periods. The Instructor's Guide is helpful.
"The Anthology contains at least fifty texts that I used for my teaching but had not been able to find in any anthology or substantial collection."
Professor Brigitte Scheer, University of Innsbruck AUSTRIA
"I like the Heath Anthology of American Literature very much. Excellent selections--a giant step toward a multi/intercultural reading of United States literature."
Professor Wolfgang Karrer-Sprach-und, Literaturwissenschaft GERMANY
"Last year I received a copy of your Heath Anthology of American Literature. It surpasses everything I have ever encountered in the field. My students share my enthusiasm, even though you deprived them of their most valuable excuse for not reading enough--the argument that the texts (especially those by ethnic writers) are not available. . . So thank you for your support.
Professor Maria I. Diedrich, Universitat Hannover GERMANY
Soto did not start out intending to be a writer. "I had entered college saying I was going to study geography and urban planning, mainly because you have to declare some sort of major in college." he recalls, "and I had always liked houses, like those in the part of Fresno, California, I grew up in. My initial motivation to write came from Philip Levine, my creative writing teacher at Fresno State. He made me feel like a writer, encouraging me to study literature and to continue writing. Studying with him, I discovered I was passionate about writing."
Soto began to read world literature during his junior year in college, and continues to read widely today. "I didn't come from a family where reading was a part of daily life, so I feel I got a late start, but I made up for it," he says. He acknowledges Knut Hamson, Pablo Neruda, Italo Calvino, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. and Henry James as his strongest literary influences.
"When I entered college, I was a bad writer," he continues. "I even had poor grammar! But I had these stories inside me that had to come out, so l disciplined myself and set about to get language right. It was no different from how a martial artist or ballet dancer must practice.
"If I had applied this discipline to being a doctor or an accountant, it would have been incredible! But unlike most Mexican-Americans in college in the early '70s, I wasn't practical-minded. I was never career-oriented; I just wanted to write. Being a writer isn't a safe livelihood, however. Look at how Dorothy Parker, William Faulkner, and Ernest Hemingway ended up-at the end of a bottle or a gun barrel."
Today, Soto is shifting the focus of his writing to literature for young adults. "Four years ago I began to receive letters from junior college and high school students in response to Living Up the Street [Strawberry Hill Press, 1985]. Their response made me want to write more for younger readers and Baseball in April was the result. Seeing that kids enjoyed my writing really turned me on, so after that I wrote a novel and a book of poems for them.
"Now I've begun doing films for children-I write, produce, and direct them," he continues. His first film was The Bike (1990), an eleven-minute bilingual film about a Mexican American boy and his adventures with his first bicycle. His second film, The Pool Party (1992), which has been funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, is a story of class difference about a poor Mexican American boy and a better-off Mexican American girl who invites him to a pool party.
"Film-making is a whole new way for me to express my artistic vision," observes Soto. "It's collaborative and mysterious, and financially scary, sometimes. Film images are more immediate than the printed word, but reading is such a powerful experience that I don't believe it can be replaced by film. That is why I continue to write, as well as work in film.
"My secretive goal," he concludes, "is to nurture the next generation of Mexican-American writers through my writing. I have taught at colleges, but college writing courses don't always do it. It takes years for one good writer to come out of such programs. So I have turned to full-time writing, and writing for younger readers, to encourage more Mexican-American students to become writers.
"I was always a tremendous reader," says Mohr, "but writing that first book [Nilda, published in 1974] was a hard, painful experience for me. So I took some of my favorite writers-Shirley Jackson, Chekhov, de Maupassant- with me while I worked on the book at the MacDowell Colony [a community for musicians, artists, and writers in Peterborough, New Hampshire]. I spent a summer discovering the craft and the magic of storytelling. When I finished Nilda, I knew that I had become an avid storyteller. Painting with words instead of images had become my new means of artistic expression. Writing would be my major vocation."
Since the publication of her second book, El Bronx Remembered, in 1976, Mohr has been a full-time writer. She speaks positively of her transition from visual to written art. "The visual art world is very exclusive and expensive. You have to have a lot of money to buy a work of art, because the artist has to make a living from selling single works. But when an artist writes a book, it becomes accessible to a wider audience. You can go to the library and read the book or buy it as an inexpensive paperback. I feel better about working in that world."
American women writers have been Mohr's greatest influence. "Shirley Jackson, Carson McCullers, and Katherine Anne Porter were the ones I learned in school and came to love. (It wasn't until later in life that I read the great Latin American writers like Julia de Burgos and Gabriel Garcia Marquez)," she explains.
"From the American women writers I appreciated that the more specific you are in your writing, the more universal your appeal. So I write about what I know best-the woman's experience and the Puerto Rican community in New York City," says the New York City native, who now lives in a Brooklyn brownstone. "I have to write from my own experiences, but I always hope readers can share these experiences and become more aware of other peoples' struggles, and thereby make connections with each other through my writing. I want my readers to see that we're all connected as members of the human family and have this common ground, no matter what our ancestry."
Mohr writes fiction, drama, screenplays, and teleplays. Forthcoming works include a children's fairy tale about the Puerto Rican rain forests, to be published by Viking, and a book of stories for adults about women and love, to be published by Arte Publico Press.
After 18 years as a writer, Mohr says, "There are still lots of stories for me to write. If I lived two lifetimes, I still couldn't write them all. I hope there will be more Hispanic writers finding their voices, too, learning to value their own lives as important and valuable to write about. I believe there's room in these United States for more books by Americans of color."
"The first writing course I took as an undergraduate at Harvard was a course in prosody taught by Robert FitzGerald. The course's weekly assignment was to write something in verse. FitzGerald really liked my first poem and handed it out to the rest of the class to read. That is how my writing career was born."
Jen was born in 1955 and grew up in New York City. Her parents had immigrated from Shanghai to the United States in the 1940s. "Our family was always a one-of-a-kind family living in a white neighborhood," she recalls. "It didn't occur to me until I was in college that writers like me were left out of the books I read."
After graduating from Harvard, Jen still didn't turn to writing full time. Instead, she worked briefly for a publisher, attended the business school at Stanford University for a year, taught English in China for a year, and finally completed a Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Iowa in 1983. Her first published story, 'Bellying Up,' which had won the Raymond Carver Write-Alike Contest at Iowa, appeared in The Iowa Review. Other stories soon appeared in The Yale Review, The Southern Review, and others.
But again, her career took a different turn. "I married after graduate school," she says, "and basically stopped writing. At one point I was so desperate for a job that I even took a typing test at the Harvard employment office. I scored very well-90 words a minute with no errors-but it took several months for them to find an opening for me. In the meantime, I received a fellowship I had applied for at the Bunting Institute. So, of course, I took that instead of a secretarial job in a dean's office at Harvard!
"I wrote my tail off at the Bunting Institute, because by then I was so down and out about my writing. I felt this time I had to make it work."
After her start at the Bunting Institute in 1986, she began to see her work published more widely in magazines like The New Yorker and The Atlantic, as well as being included in several anthologies. Additional fellowships and awards enable her to continue writing full-time. Her first novel, Typical American, about a Chinese family who immigrates to and becomes established in the United States, was published in 1991 by Houghton Mifflin. It was nominated for a National Book Critics' Circle Award.
Reflecting on her writing, Jen observes, "I think I have been heavily influenced by Jewish writers, especially Bernard Malamud. Their humor, their heart-on-the-sleeve quality, and their strong moral sense all impress me.
I've also been influenced by Victorian novelists, especially Jane Austen. I don't think there is a woman writer now writing who hasn't been influenced by Austen. For a while, when I was younger, I wanted to be Austen's Emma.
"Someone once pointed out to me that Typical American has a lot in common with Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby," she observes. "I realized then that that's true-all that sense of 'outsiderness', all that earnest fascination with America is very much part of my work, too.
"I would hate to see any of these writers whom I love thrown out of the canon today. We read in a much more sophisticated way these days, and I think that's appropriate. It's hard to accept books with 'happy-ever-after' endings like Jane Austen's without a grain of salt, now. But I think it's still valuable to read her and other great writers in context. The important thing is not to worship the older works and to remain open to the new."
Jen, who lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and 13-month-old son, is working now on a second novel but doesn't wish to discuss its content. Not wishing to be pressured to complete this work, she has not yet offered it to a publisher.
"Writing is the one activity in which I'm never bored," she concludes. It's always hard, always a challenge. There's a quest in writing fiction, a religious aspect of searching for truth, that makes it meaningful for me."
Multiculturalism in the United States: Putting Theory into Practice
This five-day seminar program will enable faculty from a variety of institutions to study the backgrounds and theory of multicultural issues and to identify key ways of implementing a multiculturalist curriculum in their courses and overall institutional programs. Designed to offer an opportunity for faculty development both in theory and in pedagogy, the seminars will cover four days, after the initial days's reception and evening lecture, with special area study taking place on three days and with a general multiculturalist workshop for all participants on the last day.
Each seminar participant will choose a course of study with a seminar leader in one of four areas-African American, Asian American, Latino American, and Native American-and will investigate the history and theory of that particular area for two days of intensive study. On the following day, participants in that area seminar will focus upon ways in which the materials (African American, e.g.) can be separately taught and also integrated into a broader classroom or institutional curriculum. On the last day, the group as a whole (i.e., all participants from the different field-area seminars) will meet to discuss problems/questions/issues in the implementation of multiculturalist materials. The agenda for the last seminar day will be devised by Paul Lauter, general editor of the Heath Anthology of American Literature and author or co-author of nine books, the most recent of which is Canons and Contexts.
The first day of the overall seminar program will offer an opening reception, welcoming statements, and the keynote address by Houston A. Baker, Jr., internationally renowned African Americanist, this year's President of the Modern Language Association, and the Director of the Center for the Study of Black Literature and Culture at the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Baker will lead the seminar in African American studies. The seminar in Asian American studies will be directed by Amy Ling, Director of the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin, editor or co-editor of six multiculturalist anthologies, and author of Between Worlds: Women Writers of Chinese Ancestry and Chinamerican Reflections. The seminar leader in Native American studies will be Arnold Krupat of Sarah Lawrence College, author or co-editor of six books, including, most recently, Recovering the Word, a volume of essays on the translation of Native American materials, edited with Brian Swann, and Ethnocriticism, a book on the theory and practice of ethnic studies. Teresa McKenna of the University of Southern California will lead the seminar in Chicano/Latino studies. In addition to her many essays in the field of Chicano and Latino Studies, Professor McKenna has, with Flora Ida Ortiz, co-edited the collection, The Broken Web: The Education Experience of Hispanic American Women.
For information about registration and housing for the seminar program, contact:
Professor Carla Mulford
Department of English
Pennsylvania State University
117 Burrowes Building
University Park, PA 16802-6200
Edited by Judith A. Stanford, Rivier College
The Instructor's Guide for the Heath Anthology is a uniquely comprehensive resource. The 728-page Guide, edited by Judith Stanford, offers a wealth of information drawn from the classroom experience and research knowledge of more than 200 American literature specialists, each an expert on an individual author or period.
Selections from Whitman and Dickinson
The extensive offerings of Whitman and Dickinson selections in the Heath Anthology appear in Volume 1. If you would like to teach Whitman and Dickinson with Volume 2, however, we've created a simple way for you to do so. All of the Whitman and Dickinson selections from Volume 1 have been published in a 212-page paperback supplement which may be shrinkwrapped with Volume 2. The net price of the package will be two dollars above the cost of the text alone. To make certain your bookstore orders the correct item, specify the Heath Anthology of American Literature, Volume 2, with the Whitman/Dickinson supplement and use the ISBN (24907-6). If at any time you are using Volume 2 alone and would like to add the supplement to your order, use the ISBN (24998-X). We will ship it at a net price of two dollars, in a quantity not to exceed the number of copies of Volume 2 ordered.
Heath Anthology Syllabus Builder
Now available exclusively to adopters of the Heath Anthology of American Literature, the Syllabus Builder software program is a unique, groundbreaking course preparation supplement.
System Requirements: You must have a Macintosh computer running System 6.0.5 or higher, at least 2 megabytes of RAM, and a hard disk drive with at least 2.3 megabytes of free space.
Syllabus Builder Kit Contents: 3 disks containing Hypercard 2.1,
the Heath Fonts file and 5 Hypercard stacks
34-page User's Guide
Rationale: One of the most frequently expressed concerns from instructors who would like to use the Heath Anthology is that a text so innovative and rich poses significant class-preparation challenges for those not familiar with certain primary texts contained only in this anthology. The expansive Instructor's Guide, with over 700 pages of teaching suggestions, is a considerable resource for instructors. Now, the Syllabus Builder, edited by Professor Randall Bass of Georgetown University at the Brown University Institute for Research in Information and Scholarship, extends the reach of instructors with a state-of- the-art software tool for course design and preparation.
Functions: The Syllabus Builder program is designed to make it easy to: look for new ideas or alternative ways to organize a particular kind of American literature course; investigate the way other instructors incorporate a particular author into their American literature courses; revise an existing syllabus within particular themes or emphases; incorporate new pedagogies or revise some teaching strategies in your course; present additional themes or issues connected to a particular author you are already teaching in your course; find additional ideas for paper topics, final examinations, or final projects on particular authors
The Syllabus Builder takes advantage of Hypercard's flexible access to information. The program allows you to search for information in several different ways: by author, by concept or term, by course, and by pedagogy. At any point in the search, it is easy to link to the Instructor's Guide essays or the syllabi resident in the program. The syllabus cards contain both course profile information and reading and pedagogy listings.
Heath Anthology of American Literature Newsletter
We hope that this newsletter provides a valuable forum for American literature specialists to share information about courses and curricula, canon reform and expansion, texts and the role for publishers, student needs, conference meetings, etc.
For more information about any of these resources, please contact your D. C. Heath representative toll free at (800) 235-3565.
Professor Karcher generously shared with us her syllabus, notes on her course, essay and exam questions, and extensive comments/reactions from her students.
For the first time since 1981, I radically revamped and reconceived my Survey of American Literature in order to make full use of the multicultural possibilities offered by the new Heath Anthology of American Literature. Although I had previously been supplementing the Norton Anthology with xeroxed selections by Native Americans, African Americans, and white women, the outlines of my former survey course had continued to be relatively traditional, and I had essentially been incorporating modestly increasing quantities of new wine into old bottles. The Heath, however, contains such a wealth of material, much of it hitherto unfamiliar to me, that using it entails abandoning previous conceptions of American literature and culture and letting other patterns emerge from the juxtaposition of canonical and noncanonical texts.
As I made clear to the students, the course was as much a process of discovery for me as for them. Especially in the early part of the course, I found myself lecturing more than usual (instead of relying primarily on class discussion of texts), because the number and diversity of the selections made it necessary to try to provide some kind of synthesis before focusing on individual texts. Compounding the challenge of bringing coherence to such a vast and diverse body of material was the shorter time frame in which I was operating, this semester being my first experience of teaching the survey as a three-credit hour course. And further compounding the intellectual and practical difficulties of the task was the current backlash against multiculturalism and "political correctness," which I felt needed to be addressed forthrightly at the outset and tactfully throughout the semester.
Despite the frequent sense of being overwhelmed and the discomfort of no longer having "control" over the course, I believe the class went well. I was particularly pleased by the consistently strong participation of African American students in class discussion and by the openness of exchanges on issues of race (in which many of the white students showed great sensitivity). One factor may have been that Native Americans, rather than African Americans, served to introduce issues of race in the Heath. The African American students may also have been an unusually self-confident lot, since several were older students, and two were among the best writers in the class.
The students responses to the questionnaire I gave about the readings were very positive. Nearly all expressed special interest in the selections by Native Americans and African Americans, and several pronounced the Heath a "valuable asset" that they intended to keep in their personal library. One student wrote, "I heard a voice that had been hushed or ignored in previous courses." Many others echoed that sentiment. I hope this will continue to be true, but a class at Temple University Carter City (night school), where students tend to be more mature, may not be representative.
English 116 Survey of American Literature
Required text: Heath Anthology of American Literature,Vol. I
Tu Jan. 21: Introduction to the course
Th Jan. 23: Native American Traditions-Winnebago, Pima, Zuni: pp. 3-7 ("Colonial Period"), 22-40 ("Native American Traditions," "This Newly Created World," "Emergence Song," "Talk Concerning the First Beginning"); 2641-63 ("Native American Oral Poetry," "Sayatasha's Night Chant")
Tu Jan. 28: Native American Traditions-Navajo, Tlingit, Tsimshian: pp. 40-52 ("Changing Woman and the Hero Twins"); 59-66 ("Raven and Marriage," "Raven Makes a Girl Sick")
Th Jan. 30: Spanish Explorers, Captives, Conquerors: pp. 7-10 ("Colonial Period"); 67-69 ("Literature Of Discovery"); 69-80 (Columbus: Journal Of the First Voyage to America), 89-99 (Cabeza de Vaca: Relation); 120-31 (Villagra: History of New Mexico)
Tu Feb 4: Spanish Colonizers and Native Americans: 52-55 ("Coming of the Spanish and Pueblo Revolt," Hopi); 431-32 ("Pueblo Revolt and Spanish Reconquest"); 433-40 (Otermin, "Letter on Pueblo Revolt"); 756-61 (Report by Delgado); 80-88 ("Virgin of Guadalupe")
Th Feb. 6: English Colonists in Virginia and the Puritan Mission in New England: pp. 10-21 ("Colonial Period"); 146-59 (Smith: True Relation, General Historie, "Description of New England," "Advertisements"); 172-76 (Frethorne, Letters); 188-99 (Winthrop: "Modell of Christian Charity")
Tu Feb. 11: Puritan Colonists and Native Americans: pp. 210-32 (Bradford: Of Plymouth Plantation); 31742 (Rowlandson: Narrative of Captivity)
Th Feb. 13: Puritan Poetry: 256-60, 272-73, 276 (Bradstreet: "Prologue," "Author to Her Book, "Before the Birth," "To My Dear Husband," "Letter to Her Husband," In Memory of My Grandchild"); 295-97 ("Bay Psalm Book" and "New-England Primer"), 304 (Psalm 23); 308, 309 (New England Primer: Alphabet, Verses); 342-46, 363-65, 366-67, 373-74 ("Huswifery," "Upon Wedlock," "Prologue," "Meditation 26")
Tu Feb. 18: Colonial Period 1700-1800- Varieties of Eighteenth-Century Religious Experience, Puritan and Quaker: 448-69 ("Colonial Period); 512-16, 545-66 (Edwards: "Personal Narrative," "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"); 604-10 (Woolman: "Some Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes" )
Th Feb. 20: Who (What) Are Americans?-Revolutionary Ideals and their Contradictions: 890-91, 895-907 (Crevecoeur: "Letters from an American Farmer" #3, #9); 957-64, 965-71 (Jefferson: Declaration of Independence; Notes on the State of Virginia, Queries 6, 11,14 [xerox handout], 18); 1042-43, 1059-61, 1067-68 (Freneau: "To Sir Toby," "The Indian Burying Ground"
Tu Feb. 25: Who (What) Are Americans?-African American Voices: 694-712 (Vassa/Equiano: Interesting Narrative); 712-15, 718, 720-24, 727-28 (Wheatley: "On Whitefield," "On Being Brought from Africa," "To University of Cambridge," "Phillis's Reply," "To Washington," Letter to Occom), 685-94 (Prince Hall: "Petition, been hushed or ignored in previous courses."
10. "I think the Anthology is terrific. The introductions are comprehensive and the works are varied." "I was introduced to names I'd never heard before-names like Walker, Jacobs, Fuller, Grimke. I learned that there were more early American voices in literature than I'd imagined."
11. "This is a good book with representations for many diverse works. It is a bit thick (on a phhe final questions on these suggestions.
In class, I distributed additional materials, primarily interviews with and short articles by or about some of the writers in the Heath. I showed several videos, including some Bill Moyers interviews with writers whose work we were reading. I also distributed the piece on the Heath that appeared that quarter in the Chronicle of Higher Education, since we'd been discussing questions of canon and disciplinary debates. Bernice Zamora, whose work appears in the Heath, teaches at Santa Clara, and she graciously agreed to come to my class and read and discuss her poetry. It was a thrill for students to hear and see a living, lively, and very local writer whose work was in a textbook!
I'm enclosing copies of my syllabus, exams, and paper handouts. Let me say again how excited I was to see the new Heath and how pleased I was with it. I also appreciate your interest in faculty and student experiences with and recommendations for the anthology. Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.
Toni Morrison, Beloved (NAL/Penguin)
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five (Dell)
Paul Lauter, et al., eds., The Heath Anthology of American Literature, Volume 2 (Heath)
R. V. Cassill, ed., Norton Anthology of Contemporary American Short Fiction (Norton)
In this course, we will explore new trends and voices in contemporary American literature (since 1960), focusing on short stories, novels, and poems. We will examine what these works reveal about contemporary life, America and Americans, and literature itself.
Reading: See schedule. So that we can have lively and informed class discussions, you are expected to complete each reading assignment before it is discussed in class and to participate actively in discussions.
You will be required to write and revise two essays: 1) one relatively short paper (2-4 typed pages), due about midquarter, on any one work we've read up to that point, 2) the other, a longer and more substantial final paper (about 5-8 typed pages), involving comparison and contrast of any two literary works we've read, or analysis of a work we haven't read from one of the two anthologies. To assist you in completing the final papers successfully, I will ask you to submit an outline or prospectus well in advance of the due date, and then to bring in a typed rough draft for discussion in peer revision groups and/or in conference with me at least a week before the final draft is due. For the shorter paper, conferences with me or work in peer groups will be available. l will provide you with a handout explaining these papers more fully later in the quarter. See schedule for due dates. You will also be required to write out one interesting question for class discussion on each text we read. Please keep these questions, along with any answers you may care to provide to some of them. l will collect them eventually, and I will call on students occasionally to ask their questions to the class.
There will be an in-class midterm exam and a take-home final essay exam (see schedule for dates).
Schedule of Readings, Papers, and Exams
Readings are listed for the day by which they should have been completed. In the Heath Anthology, be sure to read the brief introductions to each writer. This schedule, like any, may be subject to minor modifications.
Friday, Jan. 4: Introduction to course
Mon., 1/7: Heath Intro. to "Contemporary Period," pp. 1764-1785 John Updike, "Separating," pp. 2007-2016 in Heath
Wed., l/9: Bobbie Ann Mason, "Shiloh," pp. 2115-2126 in Heath
Fri., l/ll: Raymond Carver, "Where I'm Calling From," pp. 64-77 in Norton
Mon.,1/14: Tillie Olsen,"Tell Me A Riddle," pp. 1812-1840 in Heath
Wed., 1/16: Flannery O'Connor, "A Good Man Is Hard to Find," pp.1935-1947 in Heath
Fri., 1/18: Alice Walker, "Everyday Use," pp. 502-509 in Norton; Alice Walker's essay "In Search of our Mothers' Gardens" (handout)
Monday, Jan. 21: Holiday (Martin Luther King's Birthday) (I suggest you read King's "I Have a Dream" and "I've Been to the Mountaintop," pp. 1957-1969 in Heath)
Wed., 1/23: Toni Morrison, Beloved, pp. 1-73
Fri., 1/25: Beloved, pp. 74-134
Mon., 1/28: First Paper due; Beloved, pp. 135-217
Wed., l/30: Beloved, pp. 218-275 (end of novel)
Fri., Feb. l: Margaret Atwood, "Rape Fantasies," pp. 19-27 in Norton
Mon., 2/4: Midterm Exam (bring blue books and your texts)
Wed., 2/6: Robert Coover, "The Babysitter," pp. 78-99 in Norton
Fri., 2/8: Donald Barthelme, "The School," pp. 1979-1982 in Heath, and his "The Indian Uprising" pp. 37-42 in Norton
Mon., 2/11: N. Scott Momaday, from The Way to Rainy Mountain, pp. 2038-2048 and Leslie Marmon Silko, "Lullaby," pp. 2167-2174 in Heath
Wed., 2/13: Maxine Hong Kingston, "White Tigers," pp. 2094- 2115 in Heath
Fri., 2/15: Joyce Carol Oates, "How I Contemplated . . ." 355-367 in Heath
Mon., Feb. 18: Holiday (Presidents' Day)
Wed., 2/20: Recommended conferences this week to discuss final paper plans, Adrienne Rich, poems, pp. 2409-2424 in Heath
Thursday, February 21: Adrienne Rich Poetry Reading, 8:00 P.M., Engineering Bldg. Auditorium, San Jose State University (free)
Fri., 2/22: Sylvia Plath, poems, pp. 2430-2439 in Heath
Mon., 2/25: Bernice Zamora, poems, pp. 2491-2495, and Lorna Dee Cervantes, poems, pp. 2579-2585 in Heath, Plan/prospectus/outline of term paper due
Wed., 2/27: Sonia Sanchez, poems and misc., pp. 2440-2448, and Amiri Baraka, poems, pp. 2448-2454 in Heath
Fri., March I: Garrett Hongo, poems, pp. 2550-2562, and Janice Mirikitani, poems, pp. 2501-2509 in Heath
Mon, 3/4: Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five, through p. 71; Rough drafts of term paper due (typed). Circulate to peer groups for reading and commenting on at home; you may also bring your draft in to discuss with me this week in conference
Wed., 3/6: Bring in classmates' papers with comments; spend part of class period in peer revision workshops; Slaughterhouse Five, pp. 72-135
Fri., 3/8: Slaughterhouse Five, pp. 136-215 (end of novel)
Mon., 3/11: Final Papers Due (you will need to hand in your rough drafts and outlines, too-all paper-clipped together
Finish discussion of Slaughterhouse Five
Wed., 3/13: Woody Allen's "The Kugelmass Episode," pp. 10-19
Friday, March 15: Last class
Distribute Take Home Final Exams
Dr. Getz writes:
"Although I had earlier used Volume II of the Heath Anthology in my American Realism course, last fall was the first time I used Volume I in American Renaissance.
As in the realism class, response to the Heath last fall was overwhelmingly favorable. Students, especially those who had studied American literature before, welcomed the opportunity to read works by women and minorities along with canonical texts. When students were asked to create their own canons for the final project (instead of a final exam), three of the most popular choices were Douglass's Narrative of the Life of an American Slave, Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, and the Inuit poetry. Future teachers in the class were among the most interested in such alternative texts. The few supporters of the old canon also had a place in the course since I consistently presented the canon question as an open one, which the students would contribute to resolving throughout their reading lives."
To study writing from the period sometimes known as the American Renaissance, considered by many to be the coming of age of American literature. We will examine the origins and ponder the validity of the term "American Renaissance" and other issues relating to the formation and interpretation of the literary canon of this period. Essays, autobiographies, short stories, novels, and poems of this era will be studied for their formal qualities in interaction with the literature, history, and culture, of their time and ours.
Experimental and controversial. Our text is The Heath Anthology of American Literature, which elicited strong positive and negative responses when it was published last year. This anthology is the first one thoroughly committed to opening the American literary canon by region, race, class, and gender. It allows us to read established writers such as Emerson, Poe, and Hawthorne alongside a range of women and minority authors 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 grew dramatically while moving inexorably toward the Civil War. Opportunities for men and women writers from a range of ethnic groups grew with the population and literacy. The first few weeks we will study authors who focus directly on the major issues of the time: westward expansion and treatment of Indians and Hispanics in those areas, urbanization and industrialization of the Northeast (fueled especially by German and Irish immigrants), women's rights, and, of course, the issue that finally split the country: slavery. The remainder of the semester we will study canonical authors in the context of these voices and issues.
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.
Classes will follow a discussion format, sometimes involving group work. Students should come to class prepared for thoughtful discussion of the readings. In-class writing and reaction papers will be one measure of this preparation, but I will also feel free to call on you even if you don't volunteer to answer.
Fri., Sept. 6:
Songs and Ballads, 2671-91 William Cullen Bryant, "To a Waterfowl," 2696-97 "To Cole, the Painter, Departing for Europe," 2697-98 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "A Psalm of Life" 2704-5
Mon., Sept. 9:
Introduction to Early Nineteenth Century, 1180-1213 Westward Expansion/The Frontier: James Fenimore Cooper, selections, 1280-1307 Catharine Maria Sedgwick, from Hope Leslie, 1308-22 Humor of the Old Southwest, 1427-43 Caroline Kirkland, from A New Home- Who'll Follow?, 2286-2307 Perspectives of Peoples Already in the New Territories: Native American, 1214-24, 1451-66, 1769-72, 1777-78, 2641-71 Hispanic, 1228-38, 1952-1964
Mon., Sept. 16:
Slavery and Abolition: 1825-71 William Lloyd Garrison, 1792-1795 Lydia Maria Child, 1795-1812
Fri., Sept. 20:
Slave Narrative: Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, 1637-1704 "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?" 1704-1723
Mon., Sept. 23:
Slavery and the Novel: Harriet Beecher Stowe, from Uncle Tom's Cabin and other selections, 2307
Fri., Sept. 25:
Slave Narrative: Harriet Jacobs, from Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, 1723-1751
Mon., Sept. 30:
*First essay due for undergrads
Industrialization in the Northeast;
Walt Whitman, "To a Locomotive in Winter," 2821 Sarah Grimke, 1886-1893 Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1893-99 Fanny Fern, 1899-1908 Herman Melville, "The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids," 2447-2464 Sojourner Truth, 1908-1915 Stowe, 2377-2393
Fri., Oct., 4:
Transcendentalism: Ralph Waldo Emerson Nature, 1467-98 "The American Scholar," 1499-1511
Mon., Oct. 7:
Emerson, "Self-Reliance," 1511-28 "The Poet," 1536-51 "Experience," 1551-67 "Hamatreya," 1573-74 "Days," 1579
Fri., Oct. 9:
Transcendentalism: Margaret Fuller, 1580-1637, especially from Woman in the Nineteenth Century
Mon., Oct. 14:
Transcendentalism: Henry David Thoreau "Resistance to Civil Government," 1964-1981 "A Plea for Captain John Brown," 2016
Mon., Oct. 21:
Thoreau, from Walden. 1981-2016
Fri., Oct. 23:
Mon, Oct. 28:
Gothic Romance: Edgar Allan Poe Review of Hawthorne's Twice-Told Tales, 1412-17 "Ms. Found in a Bottle," 1322-32 "Ligeia," 1333-44 "The Fall of the House of Usher," 1344-57 "Eleanora." 1357-64
Fri., Nov. 1:
Poe,"The Purloined Letter," 1372-85 "The Cask of Amontillado," 1386-91 "Sonnet-To Science," 1391 "Israfel," 1395-96 "The Raven," 1403-1406 "The Philosophy of Composition," 1417-1425 "Ulalume," 1406-9 "Annabel Lee," 1410-1411
Mon., Nov. 4:
*Second undergrad essay due
The American Romance Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, 2132-2272
Fri., Nov. 8:
Scarlet Letter continued
Hawthorne, other selections, 2273-85
Mon., Nov. 11:
The American Romance-Herman Melville "Hawthorne and His Mosses" Moby-Dick
Fri., Nov. 15:
Mon., Nov. 18:
Fri., Nov. 22:
Mon. Nov. 25:
*3rd undergrad essay due
*Grad research-backed essay due
Open Form Poetry: Walt Whitman 1855 Preface to Leaves of Grass, 2709-27 "Song of Myself," 2727-78 "The Sleepers," 2778-86
Mon., Dec. 2:
Whitman, "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking," 2793-98 from Drum-Taps, 2804-10
Fri, Dec. 6:
"When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard article or chapter to your paper. Bloom'd," 2810-17 Closed Form Poetry: Emily Dickinson, 2838-75
Fri., Dec. 13:
Toward Realism Alice Cary, "Uncle Christopher," 2596- 2613 Elizabeth Stoddard, "The Prescription," 2614-28
Wed., Dec. 18:
Final Exam/Project 8:30- or issue. 10:20 in this classroom
1. Identify and analyze key differences between two of these anti-slavery works: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Uncle Tom's Cabin, and Incidents in the Life Of a Slave Girl. In your analysis explain whether those differences strenghten or weaken the works you discuss. You are encouraged to use other anti-slavery works on our reading list as reference points or perspectives for your contrast.
2. Choose two of the folowing authors and show how a work in our text by one author sheds light on two works in out text by the other: Emerson, Fuller, Thoreau, Poe. You might highlight comparisons, contrasts, or both. If you suggest that one author influenced the other, make careful use of the dates their works were written and published.
3. Choose either Scarlet Letter or Moby-Dick for a paper that will have several sections:
a. Write a reaction to some continuing aspect of the book (e.g. a conflict, character, image, theme not restricted to one or two chapters or incidents). Avoid plot summary. The more focus this section has, the better your paper is likely to be.
b. Read a chapter from a critical book or an article on your novel that deals with the topic you choose in a. The article or chapter must have been published in the last ten years and be at least eight pages long. React to this article. Don't summarize; critique/evaluate. Attach a photocopy of your article or chapter to your paper.
c. Do some historical research and explain how it illuminates the book. Again, stay as close as possible to the topic you identified in a. You might look into how the Puritans punished adulteresses or goverened their congregations or what ethnic groups made up a typical New England whaling crew in Melville's day and how they got along. Look for ways your author may have altered the real situation and speculate about why or, if he's accurated, why he might have been drawn to that setting or issue. Name your source and attach a photocopy of it.
d. Present your current reaction to your topic in a., after having reflected on it for some time and gone through steps b. and c. Has your view of the character, theme, etc., changed during this process?
To be prepared for oral and written presentation during final exam period. Identify and justify your selections from works on our reading list for:
1. One noncanonical author or text that should be included in future versions of this course.
2. One canonical author or text that should be included.
3. One canonical author or text that could be omitted to make room for others.
If you can't justify an author or text for one of the categories, add a second author or text to one of the others and justify it. In your justification, be explicit about your criteria for inclusion or exclusion.
About five pages if typed. Return to: Newsletter Home Page