Spring 2015 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
What did it mean to have a self in 1844? To go for a walk in nature in 1849? To face the law in 1850? To be dead in 1863? In this course, we will answer these questions by studying major works of American literature, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson's essays, Nathaniel Hawthorne's fiction, and Emily Dickinson's poetry. We will examine how these texts represent the world in ways that sometimes coincide, but more often diverge, with the cultural texts of our own era. We will study techniques for making sense of the older texts, and we will learn to write about the intricacies of their frequently surprising, often counterintuitive, and sometimes unsettling perspectives.
Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Norton)
Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter and Other Writings (Norton)
Thoreau, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (Princeton UP)
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
Faithful attendance; diligent reading; regular brief writing assignments; 6-8 page paper