A Brief History of American Literature Syllabus (Spring 2008)

By Jonathan Torres,2014-11-26 11:10
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A Brief History of American Literature Syllabus (Spring 2008)

     美国文学史 2009春季,

    A Brief History of American Literature Syllabus


    Voice: 62205215 Words:

Time: Tue. 10:10am-12:00am

    Place: 7 307

    Goals of the course: What is the general history of American literary history? What are the major critical responses to a series of literary works (canons) along its development? How should we, as Chinese readers, respond to the making of its history and histories (multicultural writings)? These will be our key concerns in class discussions.

    This course is designed as a gateway both to further study of American literature and as an opportunity for students with any other concentration path in mind who would like to understand American culture and history through reading literature.

    Well concentrate on fiction, non-fiction, drama, but with some attention to poetry also. Well use the methods of literary inquiry in order to explore questions such as: What is the relationship between the making of a Nation and its literature? What are the major literary movements and their direct or indirect relationships with the changing American society? To what extent is it necessary to rethink American literature in terms of the diverse cultural identities and social problems throughout the nations history?

    Well address these questions through a combination of lecture, interactive discussion (group presentation in class), critical papers and one test in class.

    The course aims to be challenging as well as interesting, but it does not presume prior study of literature beyond the senior level of colleague English.

Required Texts

    The Heath Anthology of American Literature ed. Paul Lauter, Houghton Mifflin 1998

    The Harper American Literature ed. Donald McQuade, Harper Collins, 1993

    An Outline of American Literature 美国文学大纲 吴定柏 上海外语教育出版社 1998

    A Survey of American Literature 美国文学简史 常耀信 南开大学出版社 2003

    《美国文学选读》陶洁 主编 高等教育出版社 2005

    《二十世纪美国文学史》 杨仁敬 青岛出版社 2000

    《美国文学简史?修订本,》 董衡巽 人民文学出版社 2003


    [Note. Most lectures presuppose youve done the reading!]

    Colonial Period

Lecture 1. Early Settler Culture, Puritan Imagination and Its Aftermaths

    Mary Rowlandson, Narrative

Lecture 2: Late Settler Culture: Transcendentalism and the Rise of American


    Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography

    Henry David ThoreauWalden

    American Renaissance

    Lecture 3: Romanticism continued

    Walt Whitman, Ones Self I Sing

    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, A Psalm of Life

    Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

    Herman Melville, The First Chapter of Moby Dick

     Edgar Ellen Poe: Short Stories.

     American Realism

    Lecture 4: Conflict and contradiction within Innocence

    Mark Twin, Adventures of Tom Sawyer

    W. D. Howells, The Rise of Silas Lapham

    Edith Wharton, The Custom of the Country

Lecture 5: Psychological exploration and the rise of Naturalism

    Henry James, Daisy Miller

    Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage

    Dreiser: Sister Carrie

    Jack London, Martin Eden

    stFirst Paper due: Aril 21 12:00 am



    Lecture 6: Modern Consciousness

     T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of Alfred Prufrock

    Sherwood Anderson, The Egg

    Robert Frost: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Lecture 7(High Modernism

    F. Scott Fitzgerald and American Dream, The Great Gatsby Ernest Hemingway and the Lost Generation, The Sun Also Rises

    Lecture 8: High Modernism Continued William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury.

    John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath.

    Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita.

Lecture 9: American Drama

    Eugene Glastone ONeill, Desire Under the Elms

    Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire

    Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman, Act II

     American Literatures After World War II

    Lecture 10: Afro-American literature

    Ralph Waldo Ellison, Invisible Man, chapter 1.

    Alice Walker, The Color Purple

    Toni Morrison, Beloved

    Lecture 11: Jewish-American Literature

    Saul Bellow, Herzog, the first chapter

    Joseph Heller, Catch-22, chapter 41

    Lecture 12: Chinese-American Literature

    Bette Bao Lord, Spring Moon

    Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior: Memoires of a Girlhood

    Among Ghosts

    Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club

    th Hour exam: July 7

III: Writing Requirements, principles of evaluation


The course grade will be determined as follows:

    --50% one paper

    --50% the hour exam

    The paper should be 1000-1500 words (approx. 4 typed pages). You should select as your basic topic one of the main literary themes or socio-historical issues discussed to the point of writing.

    Your paper should include detailed discussion (250 words or more) of a particular short passage in your chosen worka passage no more than a page in length. The

    passage itself should be printed not in the main body of your paper but at the end, as an appendix (Xerox is OK), and it should not count towards the overall word limit. The reason for including this requirement of detailed treatment of a short passage is to ensure that you will get some training in doing micro-level analysis of a literary work.

    The hour exam will cover the basic literary concepts and authors of the works discussed in lectures. You are welcome to bring notes and textbooks, though I dont

    think youll need to refer to them much, if at all. Ill prepare you in more detail for

    what to expect on the exam as the time approaches.

A Note on Lateness Policy:

    Paper submitted late without valid excuse will be penalized at the rate of 1/3 of a grade per day or fraction thereof (with Saturday and Sunday counting as a single day.) Academic and work conflicts are not grounds for an extension.

IV. Other Information

    A. Format (Important !). All written assignments (other than examination) must be

    double spaced with pages numbered. All quotations should be documented. All

    sources to which you are substantially indebted should be acknowledged in your

    notes, whether or not you quote them directly; otherwise you have committed

    plagiarism, resulting in FAILURE!

    B. Limits of Collaboration. You are welcome to discuss your ideas for papers with

    classmates as well as with me. But your writing must be your own individual

    work. You are not permitted to show your papers themselves or drafts to


    : 请提前观看根据文学作品改编的下列电影,并注意原著与电影



    1,《红字》!又名(《红色禁恋》 2,《汤姆•索耶历险记》 3,《纯真年代》




    7. 《喧嚣与躁动》






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