Spring 2011 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
The 1893 Chicago World's Fair, meant to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus's voyage to the new world, is in many ways at the cultural center of this course. Twenty-seven million visitors witnessed the technological inventions that would transform their world and continue to form ours, including light bulbs, elevators, and motion pictures; also on display was a map of the United States made entirely of pickles, and two models of the Liberty Bell, one in wheat, oats, and rye, and another in oranges. This combination of technological innovation and a taste for reproduction marks the period that gives rise to realist and naturalist writing in the United States. Accordingly, we will study how that literature reflects changing perceptions of what was real and natural and how, at the same time, it was creating those very perceptions.
Authors studied will include Mark Twain, Stephen Crane, Charles Chesnutt, Sarah Orne Jewett, Henry James, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Frank Norris. A project (including presentation and short paper) about the 1893 World's Fair is part of the course.
Order will be placed at Off-Campus Books.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
Rigorous reading of assigned texts, completion of regular brief writing assignments, short presentation and accompanying paper, and passing of a midterm and final essay-style exam.