Fall 2011 - Graduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
F. O. Matthiessen inaugurated the study of nineteenth-century American literature with his 1941 book, _The American Renaissance_. He argued that between 1850 and 1855, through the writings of Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville, and Whitman, America arrived at "its first maturity and affirm[ed] its rightful heritage in the whole expanse of art and culture" (vii). Matthiessen's book, then, was only as pathbreaking as the writers it studied. This course will have two aims: first, to follow Matthiessen in reading the five writers as pivotal, and, secondly, to learn how the critical field that succeeded him has developed. We will read canonical primary texts and landmark critical texts in order to produce grounded, relevant contemporary analysis.
Books will be available at Off-Campus Books and the on-campus bookstore.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
Rigorous reading practices; brief close readings due every other week; final paper.