Syllabus #3

English 2320.02: American Literature Survey II: Civil War to Present
Spring 1991

Professor Gail Reitenbach
University of Wyoming


The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Volume 2, Paul Lauter, et al., eds.

The Sound and the Fury. William Faulkner (Vintage)

Course Description

To quote from our anthology: "the reality of America has always been, to a significant degree, its extraordinary diversity-of regions, and of ethnic and racial groups; and a truly `national' literature, in the final analysis, must be one that comprehends such diversity" (192). So, too of an American literature survey course.

Generally, readings are arranged on the syllabus historically, to give you a sense of continuities, evolving trends, and simultaneous developments within the diversity. Introducing you to as many writers and movements as possible means that we'll be reading a little by many authors, which is not usually the most satisfying way to read. However, lectures will fill in some background and information about other works not on the syllabus. The course has several related goals:

* to expose you to a variety of writers, styles, subjects, and ideas in American writing since the Civil War

* to prepare you for further study of the period in 600-level courses

* to improve your close and careful reading and analysis of written texts

* to broaden your understanding of American culture through the study of its literary artifacts and their reputations

The class format will combine lecture and class discussion.

Written assignments

Daybook: Each day a half-page to one-page handwritten daybook entry is due at the beginning of class. (Not having the daybook done should not prompt you to skip class; that will only put you farther behind.) These will be informal but thoughtful writings, usually on an assigned but broad topic, in response to the day's reading. I will grade and return them, usually by the next class. Sometimes we will read them in class as discussion openers.

I will not be grading on whether or not you gave the "right" answer, for in many cases there will be no such clear answer. Instead, what I'm looking for is evidence of careful reading and thinking about the texts-connnective thinking (about other relevant works or issues, for example), and a written entry that shows the writer has seriously engaged with the text and communicated some understanding of it. Unwarranted brevity and haphazardly written entries will not receive full points. All other entries received on time will earn the daily point. I will sometimes comment briefly on your entries, but will not "mark" or grade your skill or difficulty with the niceties of formal written essays like spelling, grammar, and punctuation.


You will write three formal papers, which must be typed and conform to the conventions of formal academic papers (see the handout regarding this.) Topics will be assigned at least two weeks prior to the due date. Often, a draft of the paper will have a separate due date.

Reading and Assignment Schedule

Reading is due before the class for which it is assigned. Always read the headnote for each author, even if those page numbers are not included.


T Jan 15 Course introduction; no reading due

Gender, Class, and the Artist

TH Jan 17 Davis: Life in the Iron-Mills 41-67

Section intro: "Late Nineteenth Century: 1865-1910" 3-34

The Issue of Local Color

T Jan 22 Howells: from "The Editor's Study" and Criticism and Fiction 529-533

Intro: "Regional Voices, National Voices" 192-194

Jewett: "A White Heron" 112-118

Freeman: "A Church Mouse," "The Revolt of Mother" 135+

New Women's Subjects and Styles

TH Jan 24 Chopin: "Désirée's Baby," "The Story of an Hour," "The Storm" 626-631; 635-637; 648-652

Gilman: "The Yellow Wall-Paper" 760-773

T Jan 29 Wharton: "The Valley of Childish Things," "The Other Two," "Roman Fever" 985-1000; 1024-1032

begin James: Daisy Miller 548-589

American International Fiction

TH Jan 31 James: Daisy Miller

The Color Line

T Feb 5 African-American Folktales: 194-214

Chesnutt: "The Goophered Grapevine" 445-454

Dunbar: "We Wear the Mask" 486

Washington: from Up from Slavery 851-76

First Paper Due

Other Realities

TH Feb 7 Posey: "The Conquerors," "Coyote," "On the Capture and Imprisonment of Crazy Smoke" 489-493

Corridos: 798-809

Garland: "Up the Coule" 658-688


T Feb 12 Crane: "The Open Boat," "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky" 697-721

Sinclair: from The Jungle 813-827

Dreiser: intro 1127-1128


Toward Modernism

TH Feb 14 Robinson: "Mr. Flood's Party" 970

Masters: "Seth Compton" 1035

Jeffers: "Carmel Point" 1098; "The Excesses of God" 1096

Frost: "Mending Wall" 1103; "Stopping by Woods" 1113; "The Road Not Taken" 1107; "Once by the Pacific" 1114; "Provide, Provide" 1115; "The Investment" 1114

International Modernists

T Feb 19 Intro: "Modern Period: 1910-1945" 933-960

Pound: "In a Station of the Metro" 1168; "A Retrospect" 1169

Stein: "Ada" 1193-94; "The Mother of Us All" 1204

Williams: "Spring and All" 1209; "Young Sycamore" 1214; "To Elsie" 1212

Cummings: "the Cambridge ladies" 1288; "my sweet old etcetera" 1289; "since feeling is first" 1290; "anyone lived in a pretty how town: 1292

Eliot: "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" 1301; "Tradition and the Individual Talent" 1306-11

Stevens: "Sunday Morning" 1394; :The Snow Man" 1396; "Anecdote of the Jar" 1402

TH Feb 21 continued from last class

Chinese Immigrant Poetry: 1755-61


T Feb 26 Locke: "The New Negro" 1460-1467

Hughes: "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" 1488; "When the Negro was in Vogue" 1500

Cullen: "From the Dark Tower" 1512; "Yet do I marvel" 1513

Hurston: "Sweat" 1535-45

Johnson: "Lift Every Voice and Sing" 1553-55



Modernist Writers

T Mar 5 Anderson: "Death in the Woods" 1118-1126

Fitzgerald: "Babylon Revisited" 1333-1348

Hemingway: "Hills Like White Elephants" 1387-1392

TH Mar 7 Faulkner The Sound and the Fury section 1

T Mar 12 Faulkner, section 2

TH Mar 14 Faulkner, section 3

T Mar 19 Faulkner, section 4

Literature of the 30s

TH Mar 21 Dos Passos: "The Bitter Drink" 1593-1598

Gold: from Jews Without Money 1599-1609

Maltz: "The Happiest Man on Earth" 1616-1623

LeSueur: "Women on the Breadlines," "Annunciation" 1648-1667


T Mar 26 Glaspell: Trifles 1076-1087

O'Neill: The Hairy Ape 1225-1257

TH Mar 28 Williams: Portrait of a Madonna 2190-2200

Albee: The Zoo Story 2263-2279


T Apr 9 Roethke: "Frau Bauman" 2282; "Root Cellar" 2283

Hayden: "Tour 5:" "Those Winter Sundays" 2303

Ginsberg: from "Howl" 2379; "America" 2384

Creeley: "I Know a Man" 2372

Lowell: "Skunk Hour" 2326; "For the Union Dead" 2328

Second Paper Due

TH Apr 11 Brooks: "The Mother" 2317; "We Real Cool" 2318

Evans: "The Writers" 2362

Rich: "Diving Into the Wreck" 2410

Plath: "Daddy" 2432; "Lady Lazarus" 2434

Levertov: "Illustrious Ancestors" 2364; "The May Mornings" 2369; "A Woman Alone" 2368


African-American Writers

T Apr 16 Ellison: from Invisible Man 1843-1854

King: "I Have a Dream" 1957-1961

Baldwin: "Sonny's Blues" 1912-1934

Morrison: from The Bluest Eye 1993-2006

TH Apr 18 Film of play TBA

Southern Women Writers

T Apr 23 Welty: "The Wide Net" 1796-1811

O'Connor: "A Good Man is Hard to Find" 1935-1947

Mason: "Shiloh" 2115-2125

Third Paper Due

Postmodernism and What It Is Not

TH Apr 25 Updike: "Separating" 2007-2015

Barthelme: "The School" 1979-1981

Pynchon: from The Crying of Lot 49 2065-2071

Hispanic- and Asian-American Writers

T Apr 30 Okada: from No-No Boy 1900-1911

Yamamoto: "Seventeen Syllables: 1871-1881

Kingston: from The Woman Warrior 2094-2114

Rivera: from And the Earth Did Not Devour Him 2056-2064

Hinojosa-Smith: "Sometimes It Just Happens That Way" 1948-1956

Native American Writers

TH May 2 Momaday: from The Way to Rainy Mountain 2038-2047

Welch: from Winter in the Blood 2126-2138

Silko: "Lullaby" 2167-2174

Erdrich: from Love Medicine 2180-2189

Contents, No. VI