Fall 2013 -
Undergraduate Course Description
Discipline and Number
1:00 PM - 2:15 PM
|American Realism and Naturalism
Description of Course:
This course explores American literature from the late nineteenth century to the early twentieth century. Realist and naturalist literature sought to depict the world “as it is.” Thus, the places and characters come from the all classes of society, speak colloquially, and struggle with problems of living in an age of great change and pressure. In particular, scientific and technological developments in transportation, medicine, industry, and social sciences transformed where and how the increasingly diverse American population lived. We will read many kinds of texts, including fiction, memoirs, and investigative journalism. Moreover, we will consider how science and technology influenced literary development at this time.
This course will cover such subjects as the impact of railroads; developments in architectural building technology and industry; gynecological medicine; “race science”; evolutionary theory and Social Darwinism; eugenics; and the rise of sociology and ethnography.
**This course may be applied to the Medical and Scientific Humanities minor (MaSH).
**This course may be applied to the Gender Studies minor.
Texts may include:
Life in the Iron Mills. Rebecca Harding Davis (1861) [Novella]
A Hazard of New Fortunes. William Dean Howells (1889) [Novel]
Maggie: A Girl of the Streets. Stephen Crane (1893) [Novella]
How the Other Half Lives. Jacob Riis (1890) [Photography/Social Documentary]
Twenty Years at Hull-House. Jane Addams (1910) [Memoir]
“The Yellow Wallpaper.” Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1892) [Short Story]
“Desiree’s Baby” and “The Story of an Hour.” Kate Chopin (1893/94) [Short Stories]
The Annals of ‘Steenth Street. (Selections) Alice Dunbar-Nelson (1900-10) [Short Stories]
Poetry of the Harlem Renaissance. [Poetry]
Sylvia Dubois (Now 116 Years Old), A Biography of the Slave Who Whipped her Mistress and Gained Her Freedom. C. W. Larison (1883) [Biography/Ethnography]
Ten Days in a Mad-House. Nellie Bly (1887) [Investigative Reporting]
Mrs. Spring Fragrance. (Selections) Edith Maude Eaton/Sui Sin Far (1912) [Short Stories]
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
Weekly Reading Responses (200-350 words)
Two short papers, revised and developed from Reading Responses
Final paper portfolio revised and developed from one of the short papers.
As a seminar-style course, thorough preparation and engaged student participation is expected.