English 261b G. Stadler
MW 2:30-4 HU III


Reconstructing Representation: American Literature 1865 – 1914

This course will look at literature’s representation of, and role in, the social upheaval of the postbellum and turn-of-the-century eras. We’ll examine writings by authors concerned with making literature more directly politically engaged and by authors struggling to make literature a sacrosanct aesthetic arena free from social concerns. We’ll study the founding of an African-American tradition of letters in the aftermath of Emancipation and the Civil War. We’ll examine the ways in which machines and new technologies revised conceptions of the human body and mind. Finally, we’ll study shifts in the representation of sexualities amid these other forces. Throughout, our focus will be not solely on historical and cultural issues, but on the narrative tactics employed to represent them.

Readings:
Louisa May Alcott, selected thrillers
Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron Mills
Stephen Crane, Selected short stories and poetry
Frances Harper, Iola Leroy
Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Henry James, “In the Cage”
Charles Chesnutt, The Marrow of Tradition
Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs
Gertrude Stein, Q.E.D./Fernhurst
W. E. B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk
Anzia Yezierska, ¨The Breadgivers

* This course fulfills the English Department’s Introductory Requirement