Graduate Seminars - Summer 2008
5325 Studies in American Fiction
Innovation and Experimentation in American Fiction, 1900-1940
This course focuses on American writers of the early twentieth century who challenged the assumptions underlying representation and narrativity in the nineteenth-century novel. We will begin with a close structural reading of Gertrude Stein’s Melanctha (1906), a text that radically disrupts the conventions of mimetic narrative to privilege language itself as the subject of the novel. Stein’s influence, both explicit and implicit, will be traced in our reading of the other authors for the course, which will include Sherwood Anderson, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Djuna Barnes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Nathanael West.
*This course satisfies the requirement for post-1900 American literature and Genre: Fiction.
5323 Studies in 19th-Century American Literature
Ann Daghistany Ransdell
American Short Fiction of the 19th Century
This session we will study 19th-century American short fiction. The course will begin with the earlier period as seen through the historical allegories of Hawthorne, including, among others, "My Kinsman, Major Molineux," "Young Goodman Brown," "The Maypole of Merrymount," and "The Scarlet Letter." These will be followed by Poe's pre-Civil War racial satires "Hopfrog" and "The Black Cat," as well as "The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym." the gothic tales of A. M. Barnard, a.k.a Louisa May Alcott, will be represented by her class and gender study, "Behind a Mask," as well as the Civil War stories in her autobiographical "Hospital Sketches" and "My Contraband," that depict her experiences as a Civil War Nurse. Henry James will take us into the psychological gothic with "The Turn of the Screw." The course will end with the ghost stories of Edith Wharton, with particular emphasis upon "The Lady's Maid's Bell." The twin focus of the study will be upon the American gothic tradition as well as upon the portrait of U.S. 19th century history, especially the issues of race, gender and class, as they are represented in short fiction. Requirements: Three short film/fiction papers, a longer paper upon selected topics and an oral presentation of that paper, as well as a final.
*This course satisfies the requirement for pre-1900 American literature and Genre: Fiction.