Fall 2012 - Graduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
This course takes its title from F.O. Matthiessen's landmark 1941 study, which inaugurated the writers that continue to dominate America's canon: Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville, and Whitman. In addition to studying the prose of these giants, we will focus on understanding the field of American literary criticism as it has evolved from Matthiessen's time. To this end, we will study major critical movements, such as New Criticism, New Americanism, gender critique, and deconstruction, as well as more minor approaches such as law and literature and book history.
Emerson, Essays & Poems (Library of America)
Hawthorne, Scarlet Letter (Norton)
Matthiessen, American Renaissance (Oxford UP)
Melville, Short Novels (Norton)
Thoreau, Walden (Norton)
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
Written assignments will include: close readings, exercises in reading scholarship, research and summarizing of critical works for a chosen text, and a pointed literary review as a final project.